Michigan Department of Transportation

I-94 Modified Tied Arch Bridge

Detroit, MI

The Gateway Arch Bridge is a signature structure, designed and constructed as part of the I-94 reconstruction project in anticipation of Super Bowl XL in Detroit, Michigan. The bridge itself is a dual single-span, modified tied-arch carrying six lanes of traffic over Telegraph Road. When viewed from the roadway, however, the Gateway Arch maintains the sleek appearance of a true arch bridge. Further enhancing the design are the pressurized arch ribs, which feature five football-shaped braces. The unequal arch ribs were sealed and pressurized to maintain constant deflection while allowing easy access for inspection without impacting traffic below. Hailed as one of the world’s most innovative structures, the Gateway Arch bridge has won several national awards for its progressive design. No tied-arch bridge before it had utilized longitudinal ties buried beneath the roadway to maintain the appearance of a true arch bridge. This design choice compensated for unstable soils which otherwise rendered a true-arch design impossible. Described by the Detroit Free Press as melding the city’s passion for football with a love for autos, it added that “only time will tell what place [the Gateway Arch] will take in metro Detroit’s Gallery of Public Art.

Project highlights

  • Use of longitudinal ties to facilitate true arch design in unstable soils
  • Aesthetic design to memorialize Superbowl XL held in Detroit
  • Six-time award winner