PROJECT: BILTMORE ESTATE BRIDGE
CLIENT: The Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina
In 2008, Vaughn & Melton was contracted by Biltmore, owners of the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC, to design a bridge over the French Broad River – one that would connect the eastern and western halves of their 8,000-acre estate. In recognition of Vaughn & Melton’s proven expertise in design of NCDOT bridges, we were asked to design the bridge in accordance with DOT methods and guidelines. The bridge, now complete, extends 264 feet with three spans on a
110-degree skew over the river.
Type 4 Prestressed Concrete Girders were used to support a unique typical section. One of the desires of Biltmore was to have an oversized walking and equestrian path, physically separated from traffic. Vaughn & Melton detailed the 10-foot pathway with an interior concrete railing line.
Probably the most outstanding feature of this bridge is the railing. Biltmore was seeking a “signature” element to the bridge that would attract the eyes of their visiting public. Vaughn & Melton obtained the original architectural design of the 1916 railing plans for the bridge on Biltmore Avenue. The cloverleaf-type open railing system became our model for the design of this new bridge’s railing. Beautiful curved lines and filleted
variations in thickness highlight this feature for all to see.
The substructure of the new bridge is founded on drilled piers in the river. Vaughn & Melton also furnished CEI services during construction. The bridge now connects the eastern half of the estate, where most of the major amenities are, to the western side, allowing connectivity to the vineyards and possible future facilities.