Charleston committee authorizes agreement to move pedestrian bridge forward

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2022 at 8:02 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A plan to build a standalone $40 million bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Ashley River is one step closer to reality, and city leaders say the bridge will be a safer alternative for people to get around.

The City of Charleston’s Traffic and Transportation Committee voted Monday afternoon to authorize Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg to sign an agreement between the city and the South Carolina Department of Transportation. That agreement will go before full city council at Tuesday’s meeting.

“We are going to build, in the City of Charleston, connectivity between West Ashley and downtown that we’ve never had before,” Seekings said, “and it’s going to change the face of this community for the better.”

Seekings said the signed agreement will finalize grant applications for the 20-foot-wide bridge and allows the city to begin designing the structure.

He also said the city will own the bridge under the agreement and will work with DOT on the structure’s long-term maintenance once it’s built.

“In a city where we have mobility challenges, to be able to build a project like this cooperatively with dollars coming in from local to federal and everything in between levels, this is a no-brainer for us. This is something we should have done a long time ago.”

Nicole Farina works in downtown Charleston and drives across the bridge every day.

“It kind of like freaks me out when I see people walking by there, so it would definitely be a lot safer to walk across there,” Farina said. “I’m always really nervous about that. Even people bike down there, too.”

Seekings also said the current versions of the bridges are very dangerous for pedestrians.

“If you had to cross either the north or the south version of the bridges that go there, those are built for cars and cars only,” Seekings said. “There are very narrow walkways that I would not recommend people to use. There is no way to get across that river currently that is safe for bikes and pedestrians, and that’s really too bad.”

The city said they’re looking to finish construction by the end of 2026. They also said the bridge will be able to open in the middle, so larger boats can pass through.

Farina said she is excited for the bridge to be completed and looks forward to using it once complete.

“I love to take walks on my lunch break, but there’s really not too much walking-friendly areas where my office is, so that would be the perfect spot for me to go take a little stroll for like 30 minutes or something.”

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