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Work on the citys pedestrian bridge continues
Plan for midtown began in 2000
Crews prepare forms for the concrete walls of the pedestrian bridge that spans Jesse Jewell Parkway Wednesday morning as the construction project continues.

As construction on the pedestrian bridge spanning Jesse Jewell Parkway continues, workers are building platforms to allow them to lay concrete beams next week.

"We've been trying to wind it down here and get it wrapped up by the end of September," project manager Barclay Fouts said.

The concrete beams will support the bridge deck, Fouts added. One lane of traffic will be closed as builders work from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., he said.

Within two weeks, contracting company Rogers Bridge Co. will begin to set the fence that will enclose the walkway. Finishing the fence is a detailed process and should take about six weeks, Fouts said. Construction on the bridge deck will resume in three weeks.

Construction on the 263-foot bridge began in March.

The bridge stretches from the Georgia Mountains Center across the street to the midtown area.

"It will help provide somewhat of a connection between the Rock Creek Greenway in downtown Gainesville to pick up where we are now working on the midtown greenway," City Manager Kip Padgett said.

The greenway is a walking path that will eventually connect to the county's Central Hall Trail. The completed path will ultimately stretch through
Gainesville, Padgett added.

"Hopefully one day we'll have a greenway that goes from Lake Lanier through downtown, through midtown, all the way out to Gainesville (State) College,"
he said.

The bridge is funded by the City View Center Project. Atlanta-based developers will pay $2.7 million, provided the city will pay those funds back once the city has a firm for an office building on the site or a signed development agreement for a hotel, Padgett said.

The plan for midtown began in 2000. The project, which includes office buildings and a 13-story hotel, consists of a collaboration of strategic public and private investments, Padgett said.

In light of the slow economy, plans for office buildings have been delayed and developers are focusing on the hotel, he added.

"I know they are meeting with some hotel groups, but since they are kind of handling that, we really don't know what the status is on that," he said.