Thomas & Hutton has worked with the Town of Mount Pleasant on public access to Shem Creek since 2007. Until the pedestrian bridge was constructed, the narrow sidewalk along Coleman Blvd., one of the Town’s busiest roads, was the only way to cross from one side of the creek to the other. In 2016, T&H began concept development with the Town which primarily included the construction of a pedestrian bridge, safety of pedestrians a critical concern. Thomas & Hutton’s services for this phase included surveying, planning, permitting, engineering, and construction involvement.
Shem Creek is not only a recreational water body, but is a part of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Federal Navigation Channel. The bridge crosses a Critical Area, falls under the USACE and United States Coast Guards’ jurisdiction as a bridge crossing a navigation channel, and is located fully within the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s Right of Way. The permitting process required a substantial amount of coordination between T&H, the Town, and various agencies. Other design challenges included difficult geotechnical conditions and installation of piles adjacent to historic properties.
In addition to the bridge, the project included the design of a public pocket park along the water on the west side of the creek, located in a narrow slip of land between restaurants. Prior to the transformation that occurred with Phase 3, the pocket park was a neglected parcel of land. T&H drastically transformed the parcel into a quaint, ADA accessible park, complete with planters, palm trees, benches, deck, landscaping, bricked accessway, bike racks, and rocking chairs. Phase 3 was completed in September of 2019 and has been a huge success, providing enhanced connectivity for the Mount Pleasant community and its visitors, as well as a dedicated space for public enjoyment.
Shem Creek Pedestrian Bridge and Pocket Park received a 2020 ACEC South Carolina Engineering Excellence Awards in the Small Project category, as well as an APWA South Carolina Project of the Year Award in the Structures/Historic Restoration category.