14th Street pedestrian bridge nears completion

By Sara Belsole

COLUMBUS, GA – The 14th Street pedestrian bridge may look like it's ready for you to run across it.

But not so fast.

The actual construction of the bridge was completed on October 31st, but there are still two projects that need to be completed before the bridge is open to the public.

“There's a section of the bridge called the approach that goes over the area that is going to be the new Riverwalk that has to be completely taken out and reworked. There is also a section of the Riverwalk between 13th and 14th that is now scheduled for construction,” Planning Director Rick Jones says.

All that work won't be finished until spring time and after the city builds a plaza area and adds in landscaping, you're looking at the bridge opening up in July or August.

Just in time for Whitewater.

“The bridge was designed to be a pedestrian place, a gathering place for the community. We knew it would be a popular site once Whitewater comes on board, it's going to offer great viewing areas for that,” Jones says.

The entire construction cost the city about $5.6 million out of its stimulus package. But it also has the ability to bring in some extra revenue.

“The capability to provide some type of outdoor vending on the bridge in the way of a kiosk or a hot dog stand or whatever the case may be,” Jones says.

And let's not forget the other side of the bridge in Phenix City.

“The people bring the money, we want to have something on our side of the river so when people gather on that bridge they can come enjoy the things we have as well and spend their money there,” Shaun Culligan, Phenix City's Economic Specialist, says.

Phenix City already has big plans for economic development in the bridge's area like the new Troy campus, and next year a Courtyard Marriott with a bistro restaurant and bar will be standing at the foot of the  bridge.

“It brings us plenty of opportunities for restaurants and different type of unique retail we can offer there,” Culligan says.

The city of Columbus acquired the bridge from the state in the early 2000's. The project began in 2010.

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