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March 18, 2014

Investment firm invests in a pedestrian bridge

Ok, engineers, here's a three-second quiz.

One of the top financial services companies in the US has a need (quickly, and during the abnormally snowy winter, of course) for a long bridge linking its new call center building to the parking facility. Fidelity Investments needs to match the post-modern design of its campus and fit in to the natural hilly and tree-filled site in Durham, N.C.

Do you specify: a pedestrian bridge made of steel or lightweight aluminum?

3, 2, 1—stop!  Quiz over! Of course, you're a genius because you specified aluminum.

fidelity-longWhen Fidelity and its contractor Skanska came to GatorBridge, they had already discovered that a steel bridge installation would come at an exorbitant cost.  Huge equipment able to travel on sloping terrain would be needed to install a heavy steel bridge, meaning many trees on the campus would need to be removed. Oh, and the subcontractors don't operate those big trucks for free, either.

Instead, Fidelity and Skanska challenged GatorBridge's engineers to design a better solution. Aluminum construction not only would be beautiful and never rust, but also its outstanding strength-to-weight ratio meant installation could be arranged without damaging the landscape.

Gator's engineers designed a handsome aluminum bridge with horizontal rail and a long-lasting tropical hardwood deck. The railing was customized with integrated lighting to create an illuminated path for the center, safe for pedestrians day and night. Skanska was a great partner, providing the details of the already established abutments and keeping the project on task, which led to completion of the bridge within the short timeline.

fidelity-underThe 283-by-8 foot aluminum pedestrian bridge was delivered fully fabricated in six sections. Utilities were installed in the field and many trees were saved. Speaking of savings, the choice to switch the bridge from steel to aluminum saved over six figures. There were many engineering and installation challenges on this project from the timeline to the landscape challenges (soil type, hills, trees and a creek on site). But Gator and Skanska saved the day, and a LOT of dollar bills.

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