On Oct. 2, 2012, Nashville, Tenn., public officials and community members gathered to celebrate the opening of the 28th/31st Avenue Connector. This long-awaited roadway connects North Nashville and West End area communities previously separated by construction of Interstate 40 forty years ago. The 28th/31st Avenue Connector is one of Nashville’s first Complete Streets and will serve as a model for efficient and sustainable transportation design.
“The 28th Avenue Connector is an important and beautifully designed road for our city,” said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. “The bridge reconnects two vital parts of Nashville, which will accelerate economic activity around that area. With this project, we have set a new standard for how to design and construct a signature street in our city. It has turned out to be one of the most attractive thoroughfares in all of Nashville.”
The one-third-mile connector spans the CSX railroad and accommodates multiple modes of transportation with sidewalks and dedicated bike paths flanking each side of the roadway. In addition, the connector will serve as the main thoroughfare for a new University Connector bus route linking six area universities. Whether by foot, bike, car, or bus, the 28th/31st Avenue Connector will greatly improve traffic flow between universities, hospitals and other key community resources.
“The 28th/31st Avenue Connector is an excellent example of how good design can truly transform a community,” said Michael Flatt, P.E., principal-in-charge, Gresham, Smith and Partners (GS&P), which designed the street for the Metropolitan Public Works Department of Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn. “Linking the North Nashville and West End communities, the connector meets a longstanding need for easier access between various resources in that area. It does so in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner, incorporating a variety of green design features.”
Green design features include rain gardens and bioswales – two bioretention features that will slow rain runoff and limit the amount of pollutants reaching nearby tributaries and rivers. The design also incorporates solar-powered LED sidewalk delineators to mark the adjacent bike path and showcases public art projects on either side of the bridge and in nearby transit shelters.
Information provided by Gresham, Smith and Partners
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