Greenville’s unique Liberty Bridge honors Liberty Corporation founder W. Frank Hipp
and his children, Francis M. Hipp, Herman N. Hipp, B. Calhoun Hipp, and Dorothy
Hipp Gunter for their commitment and contribution to the Greenville community. The
$4.5 million structure was funded by the City of Greenville’s Hospitality Tax, which
must be spent on tourism-related facilities.
The Liberty Bridge was constructed over a period of 12 months by Taylor and Murphy
Construction Co. of Asheville, N.C., designed by bridge architect Miguel Rosales
of Boston, and engineered by Schlaich Bergermann.
Chris Britton, structural division manager for Taylor and Murphy, describes the
bridge as "an ultra lightweight bridge, which almost looks like it’s floating on
At 345 feet long, 12 feet wide and 8 inches thick, the concrete reinforced deck
is supported by a single suspension cable. The deck's distinctive curve has a radius
of 214 feet and it is cantilevered toward the waterfall from supporting cables on
the outside. The bridge deck also inclines 12 feet or 3 percent from east to west
over the river.
Three primary cable systems work with and against each other to support the bridge
and hold its position. Underneath the deck, three 80 millimeter diameter “ring”
cables provide support and place it into compression in the horizontal plane. The
28 millimeter hanger cables work against the ring cables horizontally and with them
The hanger cables are set at 35 to 60 degrees from vertical and are supported by
the catenary or main cable. The main cable is actually three separate 80 millimeter
cables – two spanning from the abutment blocks to the steel mast and one spanning
from mast to mast in the center of the span.
The two 90 foot tall masts weight more than 28 tons each and lean away from the
bridge at a 15 degree angle. Two 80 millimeter backstay cables hold the masts in
position. Steel piles and rock anchors, 70 feet deep into bedrock, transfer the
bridge loads to the ground at the abutments, mast and backstay foundations.
While bridges with similar structural concepts have been built in Europe, this bridge
is unique in its geometry and there is nothing like it in the United States.
Below the bridge the 28 foot Reedy River Falls is the site where Greenville’s first
European settler, Richard Pearis, established his trading post in 1768. Later he
built grist and saw mills at this same location which was the hub of early industry
in Greenville until the 1920s.
Learn more about
Liberty Bridge Architect Miguel Rosales.