Work is underway to install the first set of tunnel arches that will cover Memorial Drive, which will support the 35-foot-tall earthwork mounds that will be built over the roadway, according to a Dec. 9 release from the Memorial Park Conservancy.
There will be two sets of tunnels under the land bridge that will measure 400 feet and 560 feet in length. The concrete panel arches weigh about 50,000 pounds each and are designed to handle the estimated 300,000 pounds of soil that will be laid over the top to form the bridge.
“Memorial Park’s Land Bridge and Prairie will be the first that aims to restore a major urban park in America by creating an improved drainage system and restoring the fragile and degraded ecology through a multi-year landscape conversion project,” said Thomas Woltz, owner of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the lead design firm for the Master Plan and Land Bridge and Prairie project.
The land bridge will tie the north and south halves of the park together with a network of trails and will also allow for safe animal crossings.
One lane of Memorial Drive in each direction remains closed through fall 2021, when the tunnels are slated to be completed. The land bridge is scheduled for completion in 2022.