22 votes

Birdsong Hollow Bridge


Photo taken by Wayne Grodkiewicz


BH Photo #220756

Street Views 


The Birdsong Hollow Arch Bridge on the Natchez Trace Parkway is comprised of 122 pre-cast, post-tensioned, trapezoidal hollow box girders, fabricated at a specially-constructed factory 12 miles away in Franklin, and hauled individually to the site of the crossing at Birdsong Hollow. The boxes were then positioned with a Linkbelt 714 crane, using the cantilever method and cable stays, similar to the construction process of the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway (please see Avery County, North Carolina). The designers of that bridge also designed this one, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of the Interior, to minimize environmental damage to the valley floor, 155 feet below.

This bridge is the first segmentally-constructed bridge in the U.S. It was built with no spandrels that normally spread the weight of the bridge along the concrete or steel arches. The live load of the bridge is resting on the crowns of the two concrete arches in the middle, flattened to accept the weight and distribute it evenly to the arches.


Written by Calvin Sneed

Presidential Award - Design Excellence 1995

Award of Merit, Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation, 1996

Outstanding Achievement, Eleventh International Bridge Conference, 1994

Excellence in Highway Design, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1997


Concrete double-arch segmental bridge on the Natchez Trace Parkway at Birdsong Hollow in Williamson County Tennessee
Williamson County, Tennessee
Open to traffic
Built 1995 to bridge the gap over the Little South Fork of the Harpeth River and State Highway 96, one of the last segments to be built on the Natchez Trace Parkway
- FIGG Engineering Group of Tallahassee, Florida
- PCL Construction Enterprises of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The Natchez Track Arch Bridge is a concrete, double-arch, segmental bridge, the first of its kind ever built in the United States. It is composed of 7 spans (with 2 main ones, the longest 582 feet long, and the shorter one 462 feet long), slightly skewed about 20 per cent (more pronounced on the southern end), 155 feet above the valley floor at the apex of the longer extension.
Length of largest span: 582.0 ft.
Total length: 1,571.9 ft.
Deck width: 37.0 ft.
Skew angle
19 degrees
Also called
Natchez Trace Birdsong Hollow Arch Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+35.98613, -86.99229   (decimal degrees)
35°59'10" N, 86°59'32" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/500694/3982409 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Leipers Fork
659 ft. above sea level
Average daily traffic (as of 2011)
Inventory number
BH 32730 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of June 2017)
Overall condition: Good
Superstructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 96 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • January 2, 2022: Updated by Luke: Added category "Cathedral arch"
  • August 17, 2021: New photos from Ben Tate
  • June 2, 2020: Updated by Nick Boppel: Added category "Natchez Trace Parkway"
  • November 22, 2018: Updated by Clark Vance: Added category "First of its kind"
  • July 10, 2014: New photos from Andrew Raker
  • December 10, 2010: New Street View added by Matthew Lohry
  • November 28, 2010: Essay added by Calvin Sneed


  • Calvin Sneed - us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Matt Lohry
  • Wayne Grodkiewicz - WGrodkiewi [at] aol [dot] com
  • Andrew Raker
  • Ben Tate - benji5221 [at] yahoo [dot] com


Birdsong Hollow Bridge
Posted August 16, 2021, by Michael Taylor (battlebotguy2 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Even old fashioned concrete arch bridges knock this St. Louis arch lookin wannabe out the water.

Natchez Trace Birdsong Hollow Arch Bridge
Posted November 30, 2018, by Patrick Feller (nakrnsm [at] aol [dot] com)

Great photography of a spectacular bridge!

Natchez Trace Parkway Arch Bridge
Posted August 17, 2014, by Eric Kinkhorst (erick [dot] bud [at] gmail [dot] com)

Don't knock till you see it. Been under it a couple times on my bike. Very impressive.

Natchez Trace Parkway Arch Bridge
Posted December 9, 2010, by Matthew Lohry (matthewlohry [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Not a chance--any historic metal truss bridge gives this one a one-up. However, this may be the best looking modern concrete bridge on the site!

Natchez Trace Parkway Arch Bridge
Posted November 29, 2010, by Anonymous

It's very hard to say, but this could be the most beautiful bridge on the site.

Natchez Trace Parkway Arch Bridge
Posted November 28, 2010, by Todd D. Walker (mrwalk08 [at] aol [dot] com)

This is what a monumental bridge should be. Sweeping profile and a great design. I thought it was graffiti free. I was smiling about that subject until I came to picture 94. Punks with spraypaint did strike. I seen no other "marked" pictures afterward. I hope this lone "tag" gets cleaned by those serving community service if it hasn't already.

Natchez Trace Parkway Arch Bridge
Posted November 28, 2010, by Calvin Sneed (us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

These are pictures of the Natchez Trace Parkway Arch Bridge under construction.

Natchez Trace Bridge
Posted August 6, 2009, by Ian Anderson (macsignals [at] gmail [dot] com)

Cantilever segmental concrete box girder meets open-spandrel arch. For a new bridge, it doesn't look that bad.