Skip to Content - Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County, Tennessee - Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County, Tennessee (Print logo)
Public Works

Gateway Boulevard Bridge

"Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge"

gateway bridgeNashville’s Gateway Bridge continues to garner national attention for its innovative design and construction.

In August 2005, the city’s newest signature structure won top honor in the “Major Span” category in the National Steel Bridge Alliance 2005 Prize Bridge Competition.

Then, in November 2005, Gateway made Roads & Bridges magazine’s Top 10 Bridges List for 2005. The structure was Number 9 on the overall list, and graced the front cover of the magazine’s November 2005 edition.

Hailed as the “new front door” to Nashville, the Gateway Bridge opened in May 2004 reconnecting neighborhoods in East Nashville and the Downtown area. It replaced the historic Shelby Street Bridge, which was closed to vehicle traffic in 1998 and subsequently re-opened as the city’s landmark Pedestrian Bridge in 2003. In early 2006, the Metro Council approved naming Gateway the "Korean Way Veterans Memorial Bridge" to honor the more than 134,000 Tennesseans in military service during the Korean War from 1950-1953.

Among the interesting facts and featured “firsts” about Gateway:

  • Bridge Type -- Fixed, through-arch structure; Tennessee’s first
  • Length -- 1,660 ft
  • Main Span -- 571 ft; downtown Nashville’s first “clear” span over the Cumberland River
  • Width -- 102 ft
  • Height -- 192 ft (78 ft from river to slab)
  • Deck Support -- 72 cables for a total of 4589 ft of cables = 0.87 mile
  • Amount of Structural Steel -- approximately 5.9 million pounds = 2950 tons
  • Number of Bolts -- approximately 46,000 bolts
  • Length of Concrete Beams -- 11,362 ft = 2.15 miles
  • Amount of Concrete in Bridge Deck -- 5688 yd3 = approximately 570 trucks
  • Lighting -- 26 Street Lights and 18 Accent Lights

The first roadway section of the Gateway Boulevard, between 1st Avenue South and 4th Avenue South, opened to traffic on February 14, 2006, providing additional access and a direct east-west traffic route between Interstate 24/65 and the SoBro area of downtown Nashville. Planning and design studies were subsequently implemented to extend the Boulevard from 4th Avenue to 8th Avenue South. Following an extensive planning process that included environmental studies and numerous public input discussion and meetings, a route was selected that places the Boulevard extension alongside the new Music City Center complex. It terminates with a traffic roundabout in a new, reconstructed intersection with 8th Avenue South and Lafayette Street. Initial site preparation for the project began in December 2011, and the newly constructed roadway was opened to traffic on April 17, 2013.

Gateway Boulevard / KVB Bridge Lighting Upgrade and Maintenance Project Update 2015

Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge Lighting Policy

Safety, aesthetics, energy efficiency and functionality join together in this project to employ a beautiful and energy efficient solution to light up the bridge. The lighting is designed to emphasize the signature architectural elements of the bridge (arch, cables, spandrels) and can changed to a rainbow of colors (256 possible) to celebrate festivals, holidays, or other events.

This project includes switching out incandescent street lighting to LED and adds programmable color changing lights which provide both safety lighting/functionality and inspiration as the lights illuminate and reflect off the waters of the Cumberland River.

The LED lighting, which includes over 685 light fixtures on the arch, beams, cables, deck, and roadway, uses less energy, is dimmable, and requires less maintenance costs as they have a much longer life than traditional incandescent.

Work is expected to be completed mid-late July 2015.

Project Team: Led by Metro Public Works Engineering Division, project team members include Civic Engineering & Information Technology, Inc., Stansell Electric Company, Inc., and Domingo Gonzalez Associates.

Press Release July 21, 2015: Mayor, Public Works Debut Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge's New LED Color-Changing Lighting System

Mayor Dean on new lighting for KVB bridge
new LED lighting on KVB bridge