The SH-9 West Bridge through bold design celebrates the agricultural presence by creating giant life-like bas-relief ears of corn spanning the parapet and piers, with wind current emanating from the corn and flowing out into the wing walls. The swirling wing wall pattern signifies the irrigated running water needed to feed this essential crop.
Each pier bullnose is capped with an icon derived from Chickasaw pictograms, specifically the logo of the Chickasaw Cultural Center. There is the “spiral”, blowing to like the wind and representing the cycle of life; the “sacred eye” suggesting an omnipotent creator known as Aba’ Binni’li’; and the “sun” signifying renewed life as the sun rises every day and hope for light of tomorrow when the sun sets.
A simple, three-dimensional woven pattern reminiscent of basket weave made from reeds and indigenous grasses is stamped onto the concrete slopewalls, illustrating a minimal aesthetic treatment that is supportive of the rest of the bridge design and theme expressing the importance of agriculture among both the people of Norman and the Chickasaw.
The SH-9W Bridge is part of an eight bridge Aesthetic Master Design Plan CDR developed for the I-35 Corridor in Norman, Oklahoma. The design for each bridge finds its inspiration in either the history, architectural, flora or fauna, or the industry of this region.
Photo courtesy of Leonardo Manzo