Construction is continuing on the long awaited pedestrian bridge leading from South Carolina State University student housing to the campus.
The pedestrian bridge will cross Chestnut Street at Reid Street near University Village. The ramp system will connect to the existing sidewalk located adjacent to the parking lot and tennis court on S.C. State’s campus.
The construction phase is expected to be completed in late spring 2017.
The news is welcome for students living in the University Village apartments.
SCSU junior Kerri Wesby has lived there for about a year and she says she personally does not feel safe crossing the busy Chestnut Street bypass.
"The cars are like crazy," Wesby said. "People drive so fast; I don't know why. There is a stoplight. They speed on right through it. I think it is very dangerous. I am happy they are building the bridge so no one else gets hurt."
"The construction phase is about 30 percent complete with installation of all of the substructural/foundation elements for the approach ramps and bridge towers complete, as well as partial construction of the mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining wall on the University Village side," SCDOT program manager Michelle Shepherd said in an email.
"Other construction activities that are currently underway include construction of the concrete coping on top of the MSE wall and fabrication of the bridge main span, which is anticipated to be delivered in late October," Shepherd said. "The brick masonry work for the MSE wall is scheduled to begin later this month."
The pedestrian bridge will have twin towers on each side featuring the official S.C. State logo, approach ramps on either end for wheelchair access, landscaping and lighting features for added security and aesthetics. The bridge will be about 93 feet in length, spanning all five lanes of Chestnut Street.
Charlotte-based Crowder Construction Company is the project contractor.
The bridge is very important since there are 600 students living in University Village apartments, S.C. State students say. In addition, at least 500 students live in Campus Corner.
While crossing the street in 2010, an S.C. State student was injured after being struck by a car. There has also been at least one fatality at the crossing.
SCSU senior Anthony Simmons, who lives at the apartments, said of the pedestrian bridge, "I personally feel it is a good addition. It is kind of in a weird place because it is kind of in between Campus Corner and University Village, but they are making it more convenient for people who stay in both areas."
Simmons said he is pleased with the progress of the bridge.
"It will look nice," he said. "It is a good thing for people staying here."
Dr. Jesse Kinard, chairman of the SCSU Real Estate Foundation and Orangeburg County Transportation Committee, says the bridge has been a long time coming. It has been a concern of his for years, he said.
"These students over there need to get an education and not compete with cars going across the street," Kinard said. "My position is to look out for the future of the next generation. I am happy about it (the bridge) but it took a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hard work."
The total project cost is $5.3 million. About $1.2 million will come from federal earmarks, $1.5 million in federal aid/repurposed earmark funds, $1.1 million in Orangeburg County Capital Project Sales Tax funds, $1.1 million in Orangeburg County Transportation Committee funds and $400,000 in Transportation Alternatives Program funds.
The project has been part of the SCDOT Statewide Transportation Improvement Program for many years.