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Pedestrian bridge nearing completion
Span to Midtown could be ready by next week
Tony Rock, with Henry Inc., checks part of the fencing Monday on the pedestrian bridge over Jesse Jewell Parkway. - photo by Tom Reed

The Gainesville pedestrian bridge connecting downtown and Midtown could be finished next week.

Barclay Fouts, project manager, said crews will spend the next few days touching up paint, pressure washing and cleaning the bridge.

People will be able to walk across the bridge as soon as those final cosmetic tasks are complete, which Fouts said could be the beginning of next week.

“It’s been a really unique project to work on and I think it’s turned out to be very pretty bridge that we can all be proud of,” Fouts said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and official bridge opening will be planned by Gainesville officials at a later date, possibly in September or October.

Construction began in March 2011. In August of that year, the project was put on hold by the Georgia Department of Transportation. After railing fell from the 17th Street Bridge in Atlanta, crews were ordered to stop working on the Gainesville bridge until a DOT investigation was completed.

“That was probably the biggest holdup on the whole job, just having that incident happen when it did,” Fouts said.

Having to redesign a project that was already under way took a little extra time, but the fencing on the bridge is secured with additional bolts and anchor brackets as outlined by the DOT.

The bridge is part of a redevelopment project for the area that includes the Midtown Greenway, a 12-foot-wide trail.

Several organizations have expressed an interest in using the bridge and greenway for 5Ks and other races.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the pedestrian bridge could be used as soon as Sept. 15 for the Jaycees annual Stocking Scurry 5K, which raises funds for the Jaycees’ Empty Stocking Fund for children in need.

“We thought a while back, ‘Hey, they’re opening this bridge. Why don’t we try to use it to get more runners?,’ " Nick Bruner, a board member for the event, said. “We just thought it would be a fun thing to try and use the bridge for our 5K."


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