Northeast Corridor Walls & Bridges
Pitcher Plant Bridge Piers, Old Concord Road Bridge
Carolyn Braaksma, an accomplished public artist with demonstrated success with multiple other art infrastructure projects, was commissioned to impact 45 concrete retaining walls that cumulatively spans four miles of highly visible surfaces in the 9.6 mile light rail extension. Three different types of walls in variable heights – mechanically stabilized earth (MSE), pile panel and cast-in-place walls – were constructed by multiple contractors, and Braaksma also enhanced four monumental bridges connecting to the art walls.
Carolina Chintz, UNC Charlotte Station
In the spring of 2013, Braaksma spent three months at Charlotte's McColl Center for Visual Art in a CATS-sponsored residency working with the project team and sharing her art with the public and stakeholders during studio visits at the Center. Early on she visited UNC Charlotte's Botanical Gardens and over time she developed her 17 different designs for the walls based on indigenous North Carolina plant life, including orchids and insectivores.
Leaf Railing, University City Blvd. Bridge
Subsequently, Braaksma mapped out over 300,000 square feet of wall designs and designed 2, 672 total running feet of her green Leaf Railing for the Old Concord Road, I-85 Connector, University City Boulevard and the W.T. Harris Boulevard bridges. She specified a particular green paint color for the girders of each bridge, visually tying them to her art railing. Two of the bridges are supported by her Pitcher Plant Bridge Piers, each pier measuring 25' across and 18' high.
Sarracenia Gingham, W.T. Harris Blvd. Bridge