The Fort Benning Gateway in Columbus, Ga., was designed to honor the men and women serving at one of the largest military facilities in the nation, including members of the infantry, who have called Fort Benning their home since 1940, as well as the U.S. Army Armor School, which has been located at the base since 2010.
The project sits at the entrance to the base and the design draws extensively from military thematic elements, including replicas of famous statues. Honoring the infantry is an 8-ft-tall bronze replica of the “Follow Me” statue—depicting Iron Mike charging forward.
Also standing 8 ft tall, the 10,000-lb replica of Frederick Remington’s “Trooper of the Plains” salutes the U.S. Army Armor School. Sculpted out of bronze in Colorado, both statues were placed atop 50-ft-tall precast towers comprised of four columns and precast concrete banding.
As visitors exit Fort Benning, they are bid farewell by a pair of 8-ft-tall bald eagles, also sculpted of bronze.
The project was constructed within the interchange of Victory Drive and Interstate 185, and included a bridge enhancement and corresponding landscaping. Architectural elements were included to hide the existing bridges while four precast towers were located at each corner of the bridge.
Construction within the 56-acre project also included two grand fountain plazas that stretch along each side of the highway. The plazas feature 20 fountains that shoot water 20 ft into the air, surrounded by 20 illuminated American flags.
Despite being the largest project ever to be constructed over a major freeway in Georgia, crews never required traffic to stop completely throughout the duration of construction. Extensive traffic and safety planning guided the project to completion without a single injury or incident to any of the project’s workers or to the thousands of motorists passing by every day.
Crews even placed four heavy precast spandrel beams while a pace car slowed traffic just enough so installers could secure the beams before traffic was released back to full speed.