Spanning the Imagination

Tallahassee-Based FIGG Bridge Group specializes in giant, functional works of art



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To Linda Figg, bridges aren’t just a way to travel from one spot to another. She sees each structure as a work of art, a storyteller, a lasting symbol of a place and time.

“Bridges connect people to each other and their dreams,” said Figg, president and chief executive officer of Tallahassee-based FIGG Bridge Group. “The beauty of a bridge tells the story of the quality of life in a community.”

I-93 Leonard P. Zakim Bridge that crosses the Charles River in Boston
Courtesy of FIGG/Adam Cohen
 

Figg’s own connection with bridges began as a child who loved creating things, like sewing her own clothes and climbing trees, where she would sit for hours a day, “dreaming of building things high in the air.”

Those dreams led to her life’s work — building bridges that are considered works of art. At 55, Figg runs an international company with construction values totaling more than $14 billion.

Launched by her father, Eugene Figg Jr., four decades ago, FIGG has its headquarters in Tallahassee, but the firm also has regional offices in Alabama, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota and Philadelphia and currently has eight field offices.

The company has specialized in the design, inspection, management and construction of bridges in 42 states and six countries — Canada, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Guyana, Brazil and Venezuela.

The Honolulu Rail Transit Project

COURTESY OF FIGG

Some of FIGG’s bridges span emerald-green waters (Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys), sweeping mountain vistas (Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct in North Carolina), red rock formations (U.S. 191’s Colorado River Bridge in Moab, Utah) and busy city streets (AirTrain JFK at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City).

FIGG has created bridges with stunning views (Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory in Waldo and Hancock counties, Maine), wildlife mosaics (Broadway Bridge in Daytona Beach) and the artwork of American Indians (Four Bears Bridge in New Town, North Dakota).

The firm has more than 355 awards of excellence, including three Presidential Awards through the National Endowment for the Arts. One of those bridges is the I-275 Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge across Tampa Bay, with spans reminiscent of a sailboat. Sen. Graham called it a “state of the art” design.

“What we are trying to do is create lasting impressions,” said Figg, a Tallahassee native.

FIGG bridges have been on the covers of more than 300 books and magazines and featured on TV shows including “Modern Marvels,” PBS programs and “National Geographic.”

Chances are you’ve driven across FIGG structures somewhere in Florida or elsewhere in the country. If not, one of their latest projects is the first in Figg’s hometown.

FIGG designed Tallahassee’s new Capital Cascades Trail pedestrian connector bridge, which will be 100 feet south of the railroad bridge crossing South Monroe Street, connecting the park to South Adams Street.

Construction bids were received on March 3 for $5.4 million, and about half of this is for the bridge and the other half is for landscaping, trails, parking facilities, lighting and other amenities.

“The concept has always involved an iconic gateway element,” said Wayne Tedder, director of Blueprint 2000, the agency created to build infrastructure projects using money from a penny sales tax passed by voters.

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