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After years of dodging cars on Roddey Drive, pedestrians now have a safer alternative.
Lancaster city officials dedicated a new pedestrian bridge on Roddey Drive near Lancaster High School that will carry people safely across the road, connecting the school to nearby ball fields and homes.
"This is not the bridge to nowhere, this is the bridge to safety," said City Administrator Helen Sowell at the Oct. 29 ceremony.
City Councilman Bill Sumner said safety has been a chief concern for students walking over the vehicular bridge to and from school and fans walking to games during football season.
"It's something that's needed to be done for a long time. Before the bridge was built, it was a hazard for people," Sumner said. "I'm excited about it and glad we could do that."
Mayor Joe Shaw said the city should make projects that serve senior citizens and youth in the community a priority.
"We want to make sure we provide the necessary things for our young people," Shaw said. "This is another great day, not only for us but for the youth using the bridge."
The project began in 2005 when former City Administrator Steve Willis submitted an application to the S.C. Department of Transportation.
Willis noticed children walking over the vehicular bridge with fast-moving cars and he brought the issue to the attention of City Council.
"I think it turned out fantastically," said Willis, who is now the Lancaster County administrator. "We were looking at the safety of students, not just high school, but elementary kids too."
Featuring an arched design, the "rustic footbridge" was constructed using two prefabricated pieces that were assembled on site.
Columbia-based Dennis Corp. provided engineering and construction management services, and Sloan Construction Co. of Blacksburg built the bridge.
The funds for the project, $200,000, were made available from a Transportation Enhancement Program Grant through SCDOT. The city contributed an additional $50,546 for the project.
"These grants are competitive and will not be awarded unless its proven a city can carry it out, so it's a real compliment to the city and the staff," said Sarah Nuckles, a S.C. Department of Transportation commissioner.
Tim Antley, construction services manager for Dennis Corp., said the project went well and came in under budget. With approximately $4,000 remaining, Antley hopes to add more sidewalks in the area, creating a longer pathway from the bridge to the ball fields.
Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at email@example.com or at (803) 416-8416