Woolpert and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) were honored with the 2018 Outstanding Special Purpose Bridge Award from the Association for Bridge Construction and Design (ABCD) for the Hemlock Pedestrian Bridge. The suspension bridge, located in Hocking Hills State Park about 60 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio was modeled after a bridge featured in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”
Unlike the bridge in the movie, which was hundreds of feet long and suspended hundreds of feet above an alligator-filled river, the Hemlock Pedestrian Bridge was constructed 10 feet above the bottom of a stream, has a suspension length of 100 feet and a walkway length of 64 feet. The bridge is designed in a “V” configuration with a 42-inch width at the handrail, but only a 16-inch-wide walking path.
“We wanted to have a swinging bridge that would move as you walked across it, with flex and bounce, much like the one in the movie,” said Woolpert Team Leader Tom Less, PE, the project’s lead designer and engineer. “It’s fun and different, but very safe.”
ODNR contracted Woolpert to design the bridge, which is open year-round. ODNR Road and Bridge Program Manager Gus Smithhisler, PE, said the bridge’s remote location is central to the park, situated nearly a mile via trail from Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls and the former Hocking Hills Lodge site.
“This bridge was designed to be an adventure for park visitors and is designed to swing out of the way during flooding events,” Smithhisler said. “Consequently, it moves considerably while traversing.”
Woolpert designers were cognizant of constructability, since the location of the bridge prohibits the use of heavy equipment. Less said all the materials used to build the bridge had to be packed on someone’s back to get to the site.