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Shelby Street Bridge

John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, Sparkman Street Bridge

Shelby Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: November 6, 2016

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Shelby Street (Sparkman Street) Over Cumberland River
Nashville: Davidson County, Tennessee: United States
Structure Type
Metal 12 Panel Pin-Connected Parker Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Concrete Tied Bowstring Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1909 By Builder/Contractor: American Bridge Company of New York, New York and Engineer/Design: Howard M. Jones

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
318 Feet (96.9 Meters)
Structure Length
1,877 Feet (572.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
36.4 Feet (11.09 Meters)
3 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

View Tennessee Historic Bridge Report For This Historic Bridge

View National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form For This Bridge

View Historical Articles About This Bridge and Engineer H. M. Jones

This iconic landmark bridge in downtown Nashville was restored and preserved for non-motorized traffic. The main spans of the bridge are impressive pin-connected Parker truss spans, with a single pin-connected Pratt deck truss at the eastern end. This deck truss span is unusual because it used to go right inside a building that was located here. The bridge has at the western end two unique concrete approach spans. These spans were described in original engineering texts as concrete bowstring truss spans. However they have no diagonal members, and thus resemble tied arch spans, which might be a better description for them. Even period engineering articles noted the similarities of these spans to European concrete tied through arch bridges of the time.

Something was not right with the concrete used in this bridge originally and the concrete deteriorated with spalling not many years into service. Ultimately, the original concrete spans were replaced with modern near-replica spans.

Typical of large, long bridges with a complicated history there are a wide variety of figures given for the total length of the bridge. A satellite measurement using Google, shows a length of 1,877 feet from each end of the approach.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Shelby Street Bridge

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Bridge Photo-Documentation
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
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A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer


Maps and Links: Shelby Street Bridge

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