Partnering with Stantec to design this gateway bridge leading from the west side of the city into downtown Dayton, Weitzman and his design team offered structural/architectural design suggestions to affect the pier, parapet, and overlooks of the bridge, as well as provide aesthetic enhancements for the abutment walls, switchback ramp and stairs, and bridge deck.
The aesthetics are a symbol for peace and reconciliation to help heal the racial divide in the city that is geographically represented by the Great Miami River the bridge straddles. The aesthetic design enhancements pay homage to Wilbur and Orville Wright and the African-American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar – both of which are neighborhood namesakes whose friendship in the early 1900’s celebrates the inclusiveness and reconciliation in the early days of Dayton’s history. Aesthetics on both the bridge pier walls and abutment overlooks include bas-reliefs and quotes from Paul Lawrence Dunbar and civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., whose Selma March the Dayton community re-enacts annually by marching across the Peace Bridge and into downtown Dayton.
On the deck, informational signage will include historic details about the city, the river, and the bridge, as well as the Beacon of Light, a sculptural element with a lit column and a bas-relief design on the base that will feature either the community of marchers and/or the Wright Bros. and Dunbar.