New FedEx Bridge Connects Parking Lot to Hub

Nov 15, 2011

An expansion at the FedEx Express world hub had Democrat Road closed between Airways and Tchulahoma on Monday as workers hoisted a new pedestrian bridge into place.

The single-span, 290-foot bridge crosses five traffic lanes and will connect employee parking on the north side of Democrat to the FedEx hub at Memphis International Airport.

The 600,000-pound bridge was assembled on-site by Tri-State Ironworks. It was moved into place Sunday but winds gusting to 30 mph stopped Barnhart Crane & Rigging from completing installation.

Engineers and contractors spent Monday waiting for wind speed to drop to 11 mph so Barnhart could safely lift the massive structure. Late Monday, the wind died down enough for them to put it in place and officials expected to reopen Democrat early today.

The bridge will connect surface parking lots to a new, 31,000-square-foot employee security screening facility that's slated to open in April on the south side of Democrat.

A similar bridge connects the hub to employee parking on the east side of Tchulahoma.

Centerpiece of the hub expansion is a new 129,000-square-foot secondary sort facility that will boost package-handling capacity by 24,000 packages an hour, to 180,000 an hour, FedEx spokeswoman Sally Davenport said.

FedEx took out a building permit for the estimated $28 million project nearly two years ago. Askew Nixon Ferguson architects and Allen & Hoshall engineers led design and engineering, and Linkous Construction Co. Inc. is general contractor.

Davenport said the secondary sort facility covers about three acres and is more than 60 percent complete. It's scheduled for operation next October.

The new facilities have environmentally friendly design features that will qualify for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

FedEx leases the property from the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. Airport vice president of operations John Greaud said the new bridge will help FedEx utilize an area vacated when the Tennessee Air National Guard moved to a new base at Swinnea and Shelby Drive.

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