City of Charleston, county looking to build bridge for bicyclists, pedestrians over Ashley River

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - On Monday night, Charleston County and City Council approved plans that could help create a stand-alone bridge for people to walk and bike over the Ashley River.

The city is applying for a federal gr ant that would cover most of the costs for the $18 million project if approved.

"This is going to be a legacy project if it actually gets built and a lot of lives not only saved but improved," said Katie Zimmerman, executive director of Charleston Moves, a non-profit advocating for enhanced conditions for walking and riding bikes.

She's glad the city and county are looking at ways to improve it.

"With traffic congestion just generally we have to start focusing on giving people options," Zimmerman said.

The City of Charleston will be applying for a $12.2 million federal gr ant to build the bridge.

It would make it safer for walkers and bikers who travel between West Ashley and downtown Charleston.

Zimmerman travels that route everyday by bike everyday.

Charleston resident Fran Clasby rides his bike for transportation, and has more than 100,000 miles of commuting on his bike.

"I'm really excited about the potential and I'm a big supporter of bike paths. I don't go over the Ashley River Bridge because it's so dangerous," Clasby said.

The uncertainty of the project worries some.

As of now the project depends on the gr ant money.

Charleston County will match funds up to $3 million for construction costs and the city plans to match another $1.5 million.

Some who live in Charleston are against it.

"You've got people being flooded all over the city, especially off Bees Ferry," a man said during the city council meeting. "You really need to anticipate where you need to put your money."

County and city leaders have been discussing plans to add a bike path for years.

"This was a walkable, bikeable city at one time, and I think we need to look back in history before we go forward," Clasby said.

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