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City Presents Two Designs For I-277 Pedestrian Bridge

City planners unveiled two designs for the I-277 Rail Trail bridge at a public meeting Thursday night. The bridge would provide an important connection for pedestrians and cyclists between South End and uptown, and would run parallel to the Blue Line.



Planners referred to each design by how it spanned I-277: the "single span" option features tall arches crossing the highway without touching down in the middle. The other "double span" option has shorter arches and would have a support column between I-277's North and South lanes. Both designs would feature an S-shaped path for users. The "double span"option would have additional areas along the path for sightseeing. Ivan Depeña designed the two bridge options for the city.




"We got quite a bit of positive feedback. I think visually, everybody was very interested in both directions," Depeña said. "Visually, people were leaning towards the vertical, single-span direction from what I gathered. However, there’s a decent amount of feedback about the width of the bridge, which is something I’m very much in agreement with. I think the wider, the better."

The project’s budget is $11 million. Planners said the complexity and material cost of the design chosen would affect the bridge’s width. For example, the single span's taller arches would make the design more expensive, and require the path to be narrow to stay within budget. City planners say the final Rail Trail bridge could be as narrow as 12 feet or as wide as 16 feet.


The city hopes to finalize the bridge design in 2020, with construction slated to finish in early 2023.

Michael Falero is a radio reporter, currently covering voting and the 2020 election. He previously covered environment and energy for WFAE. Before joining WFAE in 2019, Michael worked as a producer for a number of local news podcasts based in Charlotte and Boston. He's a graduate of the Transom Story Workshop intensive on Cape Cod and UNC Chapel Hill.