American Tobacco Trail Bridge

The American Tobacco Trail pedestrian bridge takes a rails-to-trails pathway over an interstate highway in Durham, North Carolina. 


  • Durham, North Carolina, USA


  • City of Durham, North Carolina

Project Status

  • Completed in 2014


  • 2015 Grand Award North Carolina ACEC
  • National Recognition Award American Council of Engineering Companies ACEC 2015

Signature Bridge Desired

When the city of Durham, North Carolina wanted to unite two sections of a 22-mile rails-to-trails project, it turned to WSP USA to provide a safe and effective signature pedestrian bridge to cross Interstate 40.

Key Numbers

Deck Thickness
9 inches
Length of Span Between Arch Supports
210 feet
Length of Stressed Ribbon Deck
268 feet
Post-tensioned Tendons

WSP’s Role

The firm was hired as project manager, responsible for the design, planning, construction management, construction inspection and other aspects related to the creation of 4 miles of the trail and bridge; the majority of which followed an abandoned railroad bed once utilized by the American Tobacco Company.

The most notable part of the structure is the exceptionally thin 9-inch deck, which included 12 post-tensioned tendons for support.

Completed in February 2014, the structure – the largest hybrid stressed ribbon bridge of its kind in North America – spans 210 feet and is in close proximity to amenities such as a movie theater, retail shopping and dining.