We got a fresh look at the pedestrian bridge that’ll eventually cross over I-277, connecting South End to Uptown.
Details: The bridge will be 16 feet wide and feature two 40-foot structural arches that’ll light up at night.
Timing: Construction is set to begin in spring 2023 and will wrap up by spring 2025, city leaders said during a presentation Tuesday. The completion date is more than two years later than originally planned.
- The reason behind the delay: The project team realized that building the bridge directly adjacent to the light rail would be more costly and take longer. So they reengineered the structure so it’ll run separate, but almost parallel to the public transit.
- Construction will not result in a total closure of 277 (some lanes may need to periodically close, however).
Why it matters: The $11.5 million bridge aims to solve a major connectivity challenge — how to cross from South End to Uptown on foot (bike or scooter) safely and easily — that’s frustrated pedestrians and city leaders for years.
- Currently, the 3.5-mile rail running from South End into Uptown comes to an awkward and abrupt end near Spectrum News. To get into Uptown, you have to climb up a flight of stairs, walk along a sidewalk on Morehead and cross a bridge over 277.
“With the vision being so much more than just infrastructure … this bridge is going to connect two of the most energetic and amazing places in our community,” said Michael Smith, president and CEO of Center City Partners.
“This really fills in a missing gap in our Rail Trail,” he added.
Background: This project is a public-private collaboration between the city, NCDOT, U.S. Bank, Charlotte Center City Partners and other private investors. They originally unveiled plans in summer 2019.
Here’s a breakdown of the funding sources:
- Private sector: $2,007,942
- City of Charlotte: $3,114,953
- Mecklenburg County: $3,100,000
- NCDOT: $3,277,105
Leaders at U.S. Bank, the lead sponsor of the project, say the bridge will be an iconic gathering place for Charlotte. What’s more, it’s a way to drum up brand awareness for the Minneapolis-based bank, which has been expanding here ever since opening its first retail branch in Charlotte in 2019.
- “It puts us at the center of connecting people,” US Bank’s EVP of consumer and business banking Dee O’Dell said of the project.
Thomas & Hutton is the civil Engineer on the project, and Sbp is the structural engineer. The artist behind it is Depena Studios, and Integra is the architect. Sustain Charlotte has been helping with public engagement on the project.
Here are the latest renderings showing what the bridge will look like. All are courtesy of CCP.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to include the names of others on the project team as well as details from U.S. Bank.