Office of Bridges and Structures

DOUGLAS AVENUE BRIDGE OVER I-35/80 - Des Moines

The Douglas Avenue bridge carries four lanes of traffic and a 14-foot wide (4.2M) bicycle trail over the very busy Interstate 35/80. Given the context, it was important to have significant and immediate visual impact for the high-speed viewers, which led to the use of color and the 10-foot tall (3 M) concrete "shark fin" end posts at the abutments.


Douglas Avenue's Wing features include rustications in the concrete to accentuate the bridge's long lines, a uniquely sculpted pier and fence posts set at a rakish 55-degree angle to complete the illusion of speed even for those driving or cycling over the bridge.

The architecture fits a theme of dramatic, streamlined modernism reflecting the fast pace of the freeway corridor.

Nearby bicycle tunnels received details to match the character of the bridge, creating a stylistic flavor for the entire interchange.

The project shows what can be done to an otherwise typical overpass bridge with very minor impacts on cost.

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