Campus footbridge to receive pedicure

Construction will begin next week and the bridge is set to open this fall.

The pedestrian bridge south of Sanford and Roy Wilkins halls that was closed indefinitely in February should reopen by the start of fall semester.

Work is scheduled to begin on the bridge as early as next week, with plans to have repairs completed by next semester.

The University has hired contracting company Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. to begin work as soon as possible, University Services Departmental Director Tim Busse said.

Dental hygiene junior Kiersten Eckard said the bridge closing was inconvenient.

“I usually leave for class 10 or 15 minutes early anyway, but with that being closed I left even earlier,” she said.

A former Sanford Hall resident, Eckard said having to walk an extra block to classes that are directly across the bridge was a pain, especially during the winter months.

“I had a discussion group meet over in the child psychology building and that is just right across the bridge and that was really inconvenient, having to walk all the way across and up the street to the stop sign,” she said.

The bridge was closed in February after a city of Minneapolis inspection found the bridge to be unsafe for pedestrian use. According to the report, the lower chord had “severe to critical deterioration” which would “significantly reduce load-carrying capacity.”

The contractors must sandblast the bridge to remove the old paint so officials can see the bridge structure and properly examine it, Busse said.

“They just keep painting over it basically, they have three or four coats of paint that they are going to get off first,” he said. “Once they get that off they can look at the underside of the bridge and determine what needs to be fixed based on the structure itself.”

The paint removal process could have environmental impacts, Busse said.

“One of the things that kind of makes this a dicey little thing is that the paint can be hazardous; they need to enclose the whole area,” Busse said. “So like everything they do, there are things they have to keep in mind from a safety and environmental standpoint.”