GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – New Swamp Rabbit Trail pedestrian bridges are moving closer to completion.
According to the City of Greenville’s social media accounts, the installation of the pedestrian bridge over Haywood Road that was planned for today, has been postponed until Friday, September 16th.
“They are building what is going to be called a trust span bridge that’s going to be lifted into place,” said Calin Owens, Mobility Coordinator, City of Greenville.
City staff said this is all associated with the extension of the Swamp Rabbit Trail along Laurens Road.
“This is one of two bridges that’s being put in place right now, as part of a larger trail expansion that’s happening from downtown Greenville – Cleveland Park specifically – to CU-ICAR (Clemson’s International Center for Automotive Research),” Owens said.
“This project is in partnership with the county, and it includes three crossings, as well as the trail in between,” said Dorothy Dowe, Greenville City Council. “The connections between the bridges are the responsibility of Greenville County, our partners on this project.”
Dowe said they’re on track to have to trail in place by December.
Owens said another pedestrian bridge will go across Laurens Road.
“There will be a sister span that’s going to be put in at the Laurens Road site on the 21st of this month. It’ll be a very similar process, road closure in the middle of the night, but that is a part of getting these two approaches connected, and the same thing will happen over there,” Owens said.
“The Laurens Road site actually connects to another project that we have going on that we call the Cleveland Connector or the Paper Clip,” Owens said.
“The Paper Clip is also the responsibility of the city, and it’s the connection to get us from the Richland Way Tunnel, which is in Cleveland Park, up to this elevation of the bridge,” Dowe said.
Owens said another crossing is in the works at Verdae Boulevard.
“The Verdae crossing was actually originally pitted for a third bridge, similar to these two bridges that are being put here,” Owens said. “Due to just the cost of construction and kind of the way the project flushed out, that bridge was nixed from this implementation,” he said.
Owens said to get the trail open all the way to CU-ICAR like they originally planned, they will place a crossing at Verdae Boulevard to help.
“We’re actually going to have an interim crossing that’s going to be at-grade. So, we’re in the process of finalizing the design on that,” Owens said. “During that same time, we’re going to be kicking off the design process for a potential underpass.”
Owens said that within 12 months, they’ll likely have an active at-grade crossing and an approved bridge or underpass they could build.
It’s something people like Stephen Fell are happy about.
“I’ve been riding it for years. Commute to downtown. Love riding it. I’m glad they’re finally piecing it together,” Fell said. “I work downtown Greenville. So, since I live close to the trail, I just bike to work.”
“Anxious to see this piece get done,” Fell added. “So I can actually finally ride all the way on the path and keep commuting,”
City leaders said the projects will not only help those who walk and bike, but also help the economy.
“This work is so important for multiple reasons. It is an economic development project. So, we have a lot of businesses along Laurens Road, and we expect to attract more and we’re certainly looking to add some residential along Laurens Road,” Dowe explained. “It is so important to add those connectivity options close by, to spur that economic development a long Laurens Road, which really we’ll benefit from it.”
“Super excited. It’s probably the largest trail project that the City of Greenville and the Upstate will have seen since the original trail implementation,” said Owens. “This is going to be a huge economic driver for this corridor. It’s going to be a huge economic driver for the city as a whole.”
City staff said the two bridges will be open December 2022.