S-31 (York Street) Bridge Replacement over Norfolk Southern Railroad

South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT)
Transportation Engineering

After completing a routine bridge inspection, SCDOT found that S-31 (York Street) northbound and southbound wooden bridges over Norfolk Southern Railroad were structurally deficient and immediately closed them. SCDOT asked Davis & Floyd to design replacement bridges on an accelerated schedule due to the emergency bridge closure.


Provided project management; bridge, roadway, and drainage design; 3D modeling; environmental; utility coordination; and public involvement services for replacement of the original S-31 (York Street) wooden bridges over Norfolk Southern Railroad

Designed the new 70’ single span bridges to have steel girders supporting transverse glue laminated wood beams, railings, deck, and barriers


Working with a short design schedule due to the emergency bridge closure

Designing the bridge over a railroad with steep embankments and difficult terrain

Coordinating with Norfolk Southern Railroad to meet vertical clearance standards, while minimizing impacts to adjacent property owners, which required raising the roadway approaches 3 feet

Analyzing test results for wood guardrails to ensure they met crash-test ratings

Modifying the bridge from three spans to a single span required deeper superstructure over the railroad

Aligning road footprints to reduce impacts on property owners and street parking

Providing utility coordination with the City of Aiken, Atlantic Broadband, and South Carolina Electric and Gas


Design was completed in under 4 months and construction of the two bridges took under a year. Davis & Floyd’s context-sensitive design maintained the unique historical appearance and feel of the original wood bridges. The new bridges have sidewalks, encouraging a walkable way for community members to safely connect with each other across the steep railroad ravine. Throughout the project, Davis & Floyd enhanced the public involvement experience using 3D modeling, which helped to inform and engage the community and enabled stakeholders to better visualize the finished project. These are the first wooden deck bridges designed on the SCDOT highway system.

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