By: Contech Engineered Solutions
As a growing public university in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, James Madison University (JMU) has taken on a number of exciting capital construction projects in recent years including a new basketball arena, convocation center and 500-bed residence hall, Paul Jennings Hall. All of this work created over 160,000 yards of excess cut materials, soil that would need to find a new home. At the same time, the University was looking for ways to improve access between the Skyline area of campus and East Campus where the new Jennings hall is located as well as to provide a new green space and improve safety for its students. As an innovative approach to addressing these both of these issues, the project team, which included VMDO Architects and VHB proposed the JMU East Campus Land Bridge.
The Land Bridge was constructed using Contech’s galvanized, deep-corrugation structural plate arch system. The 128-foot long bridge-tunnel has a 60′-5″ span and 20′-8″ rise. It spans an existing 2-lane road and supports a 20′ wide, pedestrian footpath and bicycle path above. To help ensure long-term durability of the structure, an HDPE membrane was utilized in the engineered backfill above the arch. significant amount of excavated soil and fill materials from another University construction site. Significant amount of excavated soil and fill materials from another University construction site was used in the area adjacent to the land bridge.
Aesthetics were critical for this new campus landmark which features a decorative Keystone wall on one end and a step-beveled end treatment with a cast-in-place slope collar on the other. The crossing features plantings, fencing and lighting that seamlessly integrates it with its surroundings.
The project because of its unique features has been extremely well received and has recently won two awards, an Engineering Excellence Award from The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Virginia, and an Honorable Mention Award through the American Public Works Association (APWA) Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s Project of the Year Award category for structures $5-$25 million.
One of the first projects of its kind to ever be constructed, the new innovative Land Bridge enhances the university with its improved green space for the community and provides pedestrians and cyclists safe and easy access to the James Madison University campus.