For third time, Charleston pushes for federal funding to build pedestrian bridge over Ashley River

Updated: May. 17, 2019 at 6:07 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) -Plans to build a pedestrian-bike bridge over the Ashley River are back on the table.

Officials with the city of Charleston will be reapplying for a federal grant that covers a majority of the project’s $23 million price tag. This will be their third attempt to get the $16 million grant. The city would then be responsible for the rest, according to Keith Benjamin, the city’s director of transportation.

The bulk of the money would be used to construct the bridge which would extend about one-third of a mile over the Ashley River. This would connect the West Ashley Greenway to Lockwood Boulevard.

“It’s a missing puzzle piece to the full connectivity of the city,” Benjamin said.

An overhead view shows the proposed bridge next to the current Ashley River Bridge
An overhead view shows the proposed bridge next to the current Ashley River Bridge

The walkway on the bridge would be about 20 feet wide and would be open to walkers and bikers. There will also be a draw bridge in line with the two other Ashley River bridges, which would allow boats to still get by.

A portion of the project’s budget would also go to improving intersections associated with the proposed bridge. This would include the intersection of Lockwood Boulevard and Bee Street and the intersection of the Greenway and Folly Road.

“There have been over 100 crashes involving bikes and pedestrians within one mile of the Ashley River bridges,” Benjamin said.

He also added that there are 73,000 jobs within a 20-minute walk or bike ride from the bridges.

Right now, the city is putting together its application for the federal grant which is due on July 15. The city expects to hear back this fall.

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