The pedestrian bridge, which will run from the Pickens-Salley House at USC Aiken to the Convocation Center, is something that has been in the works for awhile, and due to the many people working on this project, the expected construction date keeps getting pushed back.
At this point, construction is expected to start on April 1 and finish near the end of December, according to Mike Jara, assistant chancellor for facilities management at USCA.
There are only a few steps left to make the construction of this bridge a reality.
“We need an encroachment certificate signed by the S.C. Department of Transportation,” Jara said. “This is basically the last blessing from them saying we can build on the Robert Bell Parkway.”
Once the certificate is signed, the plan will be sent to a clearinghouse for plans, according to Jara. Once there, it stays for three weeks. Then, on Feb. 12, there will be a pre-bid, which is when contractors get to bid on the project. The contractors will then have to submit their bid on Feb. 27 and sign the contract, which will take two weeks due to negotiations.
Jara was pretty confident that SCDOT would sign off on the plan.
“They have invested $700,000 in this project,” Jara said. “They have no reason not to sign off.”
Originally, construction was set to start this month, but there were some setbacks and construction was pushed back.
“I’m very frustrated with this,” Jara said. “I thought we’d be further along. No one else on campus wants this bridge built quicker than me.”
Aside from the setback, this bridge will not only provide a safer route across the road, but connect both sides of campus, according to Jara.
“The first and foremost reason for it is so that students aren’t walking on the parkway,” Jara said. “It will promote walking and a healthy lifestyle. ... Once it’s built, the students, faculty and staff will see how easy it is to get to the Convocation Center. As it becomes used more, there will be more exposure of the Convocation Center and more participation because of it.”
The bridge will have a tunnel to close the top and 18-by-26-foot university logo that will be illuminated with LED lights.
“I can’t wait to build it,” Jara said. “It will be absolutely beautiful.”