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Big Span Structures completes covered walkway for Jacksonville transit users

Swatches | September 1, 2020 | By:

The pedestrian walkway bridge at the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center is covered with a 2,725-square-foot tensile canopy system by Big Span Structures. Photos: Big Span Structures LLC.

An eye-catching pedestrian bridge with a tensile membrane roof is keeping Jacksonville, Fla., transit users protected from the elements.

Jacksonville Transit Authority’s vision of a regional multimodal hub is coming to a reality with the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center (JRTC). Located in the heart of the downtown LaVilla area, the JRTC will integrate key local, regional and intercity transit services in one location.

In Phase II of the project, Big Span Structures LLC of Summerfield, Fla., was contracted to provide a design-build tensile membrane structure to provide protection from the sun and weather elements on a connecting pedestrian walkway bridge. The 2,725-square-foot tensile canopy system features white PVC membrane and V-shaped steel elements on the side column areas. 

One of the challenges BigSpan overcame was to design a compensated shape so that by the time the truss was laying over the two pedestals, the truss would deform to its final shape, according to Michele Taylor, Big Span development manager. That compensation had to be translated to the interface connector brackets to the canopy columns. Taylor added that the fabrication and painting of the bridge’s decorative V-shaped steel elements in conjunction with the main steel was a labor-intensive process. Another challenge involved coordinating with the bus terminal and local authorities to ensure that transit could operate during installation. 

Completed in May 2020, the project’s architect was Michael Baker International. For more, visit

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