For this ongoing design-build project, CDR teamed with Engineers of Record, Stantec to design this gateway bridge leading from the west side of the city into downtown Dayton. By being a part of the design team from the beginning, CDR has been able to offer structural/ architectural design suggestions to affect the architecture of the pier, parapet, and overlooks of the bridge, as well as provide aesthetic enhancements for the abutment walls, switchback ramp and stairs, and bridge deck.
As the first stage of the design process, CDR participated in a community meeting with the Wright-Dunbar community, where the bridge is located. From this meeting, CDR’s design team was able to determine the themes/ideas that were important to the community. But, more importantly, CDR learned that the community hoped the aesthetics would be a symbol for peace and reconciliation, to help heal the racial divide in the city; a divide that is geographically represented by the Great Miami River the bridge straddles.
The Stantec/CDR design selected by the community and stakeholders is an elegant bridge that found inspiration in the graceful lines and style of the Italian Renaissance architecture prominent in the City, evidenced in the large bracket inspired pier design and balustrade. Also, through the design of the aesthetic enhancements, CDR paid homage to Wilbur and Orville Wright and the African-American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, neighborhood’s namesakes and whose friendship in the early 1900’s celebrates the inclusiveness and reconciliation in the early days of Dayton’s history. Aesthetic enhancements on both the bridge pier walls and abutment overlooks include bas-reliefs and quotes from Paul Lawrence Dunbar and civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., whose Selma March the Dayton community re-enacts annually by marching across the Peace Bridge and into downtown Dayton.
Additionally, on the deck, CDR proposed informational signage with historic details about the City, the River, and the Bridge, as well as the Beacon of Light, a sculptural element with a lit column and a powerful bas-relief design on the base that will feature either the community of marchers or the Wright Bros. and Dunbar.