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May 27, 2014

GatorBridge Helps Southern Miss Campus Recover from Tornado Damages

In February 2013, an F-4 tornado ripped through Mississippi, tearing a path through the University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg’s campus.

Winds up to 170 miles per hour damaged many buildings and toppled about 75 trees, including 90-year-old live oaks. The twister devastated the picturesque “front campus,” famous for its lush landscaping and historic Lake Byron.

To restore the landscaping, the university launched a $3 million campus beautification project, including a major transformation of the popular landmark, Lake Byron, and its iconic white pedestrian bridge. 

Planners had a clean slate to blend restoration with innovation.  So they recommended a replacement bridge that retained the original’s historic legacy, but drastically improved its durability, strength and functionality. A special architectural review committee didn’t flinch at the planner’s key recommendation: make the bridge with aluminum, not steel or wood.

Commissioned by University of Southern Mississippi Physical Plant Department, GatorBridge designed a structure based on specifications from Neel Schaffers Inc.’s Landscape Architecture Group. The design preserves the historic look of the old structure and complies with current ADA and OSHA standards.

Aesthetics were paramount in the new bridge’s design, so it mirrors the old bridge’s color and signature arch.  Made from powder-coated aluminum, the 5 ‘X 47’ ornamental structure has composite decking created to blend with the landscape.

GatorBridge designed, fabricated and shipped the bridge in just 14 weeks. 

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Photos courtesy: The University of Southern Mississippi

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