Viaduct an Engineering Marvel
On September 11, 1987, the Linn Cove Viaduct—part of the Blue Ridge Parkway—was completed in Avery County. Internationally recognized as an engineering marvel, the curved bridge spans 1,243 feet and hugs an especially sensitive area of Grandfather Mountain.
Construction began in 1979 and cost about $10 million. The S-curve bridge consists of more than 150 precast individual segments joined together on Grandfather Mountain with epoxy glue and tension cables. Each of the segments weighs about 50 tons and is a different shape; only one is square and straight.
To minimize damage to the environment, the bridge served as its own building platform. Workers placed one segment after another using the bridge as their access road. As a consequence the viaduct proved that bridges could both achieve their transportation function and preserve the environment at the same time.
Since its opening, the viaduct has received numerous design awards including a Presidential Design Award in 1984 and the American Consulting Engineers Council Award for Engineering Excellence in 1985. It is operated by the National Park Service as part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Other related resources:
- Blue Ridge Music from the N.C. Arts Council
- Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway, a project of UNC-Chapel Hill with support from the State Archives
- “That Magnificent Army of Youth and Peace”: The Civilian Conservation Corps in North Carolina, 1933-1942 from North Carolina Historical Publications
- The Western Regional Archives
- Works Projects in North Carolina, 1931-1944, an online exhibit from the State Archives
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