AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – A major step forward in a project to connect both sides of the University of South Carolina Aiken’s campus wrapped up Saturday.
“The University is extremely excited,” said USC Aiken spokeperson Leslie Hull-Ryde.
Saturday night, crews installed two of the biggest parts of a $1.8 million pedestrian bridge. Once complete, the community won’t have to continue crossing Robert M. Parkway to go between the USC Aiken’s convocation center and the main campus.
University officials say the bridge is desperately needed.
“This bridge is going to be used every day by our students, by our student athletes, by our faculty, and by the community,” said Hull-Ryde.
People regularly cross from the main campus to the convocation center to watch the Pacers play or attend summer camps, graduation, concerts, corporate functions, or other community events. They often go on foot.
“The speed limit on this road is 55 miles per hour,” said Hull-Ryde.
The University called on traffic engineers to address the safety hazard.
“Their recommendation was that there was enough people that cross this street every day– and vehicles–because we also have faculty and staff that cross in vehicles as well, that the pedestrian bridge was the safest recommendation,” said Brian Enter with University facilities.
The bridge will also ease the load on drivers.
“Those people who traverse the parkway are going to be very excited that they don’t have to look out for pedestrians any longer,” said Hull-Ryde.
Some finishing touches remain, but after the initial installation Saturday night, anyone driving by on Robert M. Bell Parkway can see USC Aiken’s progress as it works to bridge its campus.
“This is going to be a very handsome bridge for Aiken. So it’s not only going to be safe and convenient, it’s going to be a nice addition for our community,” Hull-Ryde said.
The University expects the bridge to open in late fall.
“We are on schedule and under budget,” Enter said.