By Emily Nagle
The Meridian Times
Construction of the pedestrian bridge along southbound Okemos Road over the Red Cedar River is reaching completion and the bridge will soon be ready for installation.
The project, led by project engineer Nyal Nunn of Meridian Township’s public works and engineering department, was started in January and should be fully installed during the second week of April.
The steel bridge is being manufactured by Cameron Bridgeworks, LLC, of Elmira, New York, and will be delivered to the site in four sections to be installed by Toebe Construction, LLC of Wixom in mid-April.
The bridge will be separate from the existing bridge and will be for pedestrians, bicycles and non-motorized travel.
The taxpayers and property owners in Meridian Township Board voted numerous times on a pedestrian bicycle pathway millage, which would provide extra sidewalks and off-road pathways.
“It’s primarily for pedestrians and the pedestrian segment of our community is pretty vocal and pretty substantial,” Nunn said. “We have a lot of people who ride bikes and who walk recreationally, but also as a means of transport.”
The Meridian Township Board authorized a contract of about $655,000 to go from the Meridian Bike Paths fund for building the bridge.
The Board saw this bridge as a priority for public safety. On southbound Okemos Road, the only way to get across the river is on the deck of the bridge, which is only 18 inches wide, Meridian Township Treasurer Julie Brixie said.
“It’s right next to the travel lanes, so if you’re walking across it with your kids and somebody trips and falls, you could fall right into the lane of traffic,” Brixie said.
In winter, the bridge has to be shut down entirely due to the weather.
“We can’t keep snow off of it in the winter because it’s so narrow that if you were to send someone out to shovel it, once the snow plows come by, they throw snow right on top of it,” Brixie said.
The bridge is between Wonch Park and Ferguson Park.