Lullwater Bridge, 2008

Emory University, Decatur, Georgia

Satellite View of Project Location View Larger Map
The Lullwater Bridge. (photo Aaron Nelson)

USE:  Pedestrian

SPAN:  210'


TOWERS:  27' tall, A 588 Weathering Steel

ANCHORS:  Rock anchor, 17-24 ft depth each mainline

MAINLINES:  1-1/4" Galvanized Structural Strand

Lullwater Bridge, 2008

Located in the heart of Lullwater Estate on the grounds of Emory University, the Lullwater suspension bridge spans the South Fork of Peachtree Creek. Built in 2008, the 210 foot span connects the campus of Emory University to the Veterans Administration Hospital. The Estate is an idyllic setting in the heart of Decatur, Georgia and offers walkers, runners, students and faculty the opportunity to take a break from the hectic pace of school and the city. Nestled in the trees, the bridge looks as if the pines, white oaks and poplars have grown up around it. The Lullwater House, a Tudor-Gothic style mansion built in 1926 and home to the president of Emory University is located just uphill. Downriver from the remains of the historic spillway and powerhouse, the bridge connects an extensive set of trails and allows neighbors who once had to dance across a fallen log the chance to explore Candler Lake and the beautiful grounds of the park. The bridge also offers an environmental solution to the commute that researchers, doctors and others at Emory and the VA have faced. Instead of driving back and forth between the hospital and the university, they can now make the 10-minute walk through the park. Taking cars off the road helps both institutions manage ever-growing parking problems and promotes the health of the community as well.

The battered tower design gives the bridge a feeling of spaciousness in contrast to the relatively narrow travel width. The bridge mainlines are connected to rock anchors that were drilled over 17 feet into the ground. As each anchor can withstand over 50,000 pounds of force, the bridge will withstand the rigors of rain, snow, high winds and the jumping up and down of children (and adults) for decades to come. The towers are set upon an eco-block and poured cap foundation that allowed for a simple and speedy installation, negating the use of larger forms, which would have required greater disruption to the surrounding environment. The towers and superstructure are A 588 weathering steel and the decking is composed of lightweight slip-proof UVA-rated pultruded fiberglass grating. The mainlines, and suspender cables are all galvanized structural strand or wire rope of Independent Wire Rope Core (IWRC) design. The vinyl coated fencing offers an economical and weight saving solution and allows for ease of maintenance should adjustments be needed in the future.

The bridge was fabricated in Seattle and the components were shipped to the site by common carrier. The tools and other construction materials were loaded into totes and made the drive to Georgia with the Sahale crew. Built in just over a month, the crew of four enjoyed the spring weather of the Atlanta area and the company of visitors who stopped by each day to watch the bridge being built.

Visitors walk across the Lullwater Bridge at the opening ceremony.  (photo Chris Porcarelli)
Opening ceremony attendees walk across the bridge.

Lullwater Bridge from below.  (photo Aaron Nelson)
Lullwater Bridge from below.