Ahead of the “Missing Link” of the Foothills Parkway opening Saturday in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, The Daily Times toured the superstructure of Bridge 2, the longest, most intricate bridge on the 1.65-mile stretch of road that includes a series of bridges.

Bridge 2, is made of 92 uniquely shaped segments averaging 45 tons. Each segment is about 9 feet in length with pier and abutment segments measuring around 5 feet long.

The superstructure was formed by lowering segments into place with a specially designed gantry crane atop a temporary bridge, resulting in a quicker placement speed than traditional one-direction progressive placement methods

Upon its completion in 2013, Bridge 2 received several professional engineering accolades, including the American Segmental Bridge Institute (ASBI) Award of Excellence in 2013, second place in Roads & Bridges Magazine’s 2013 Top 10 Bridges and the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Design Award for Best Bridges with Main Span More than 150 Feet in 2014.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to name Bridge 2 as Dean Stone Bridge in honor of the late editor of The Daily Times, who was a steadfast supporter of building the Foothills Parkway.

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