Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge spans the Cumberland River and connects downtown's popular 2nd Avenue area to LP Field. It's a local favorite for photography and river views, a romantic stroll, or a special event. An annual wine-tasting event is a popular favorite. The bridge spans 3,150 feet, one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world.
Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge was originally known as Sparkman Street Bridge, built one block south of Broadway, connecting Sparkman Street and Shelby Avenue. The bridge was constructed at a cost of about $475,000. The bridge was the first one in North America to have concrete arched trusses.
In 1998, the Shelby Street Bridge was admitted to the National Register of Historic Places, due mainly to the unique truss design.
The bridge in 1998 was slated for demolition. Due to aesthetic, architectural and historical considerations, it was decided that the bridge should be converted to a pedestrian bridge. The success of the Walnut Street Bridge as a part of Chattanooga's urban renewal efforts was a major consideration in saving the bridge.
The bridge was refurbished and includes an elevator, ramps and stairways. The bridge has a center lane fifteen feet across to accommodate bicycles. On each side of the bicycle lane are 10-foot-wide elevated boardwalk-style sidewalks. The bridge includes four scenic pedestrian overlooks that, in the metal of the railing, have artistic renderings of the history of life on the Cumberland River. The bridge is dramatically lit at night.
The refurbished bridge is part of the Metro Nashville Greenway system.The eastern terminus includes a pedestrian plaza with special landscaping and is very close to LP Field. The western terminus comes out facing the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, close to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
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