FIU to build bridge over sw 8th Street

Aubrey Carr/Staff Writer

 

Students, Zara Biggs, a freshman in Public Relations and Alexis Thomas, a sophomore in Broadcast Media, voice their opinions about FIUs endeavor to build a $9.3 million pedestrian bridge over SW 8th St.​

 

Plans are underway to build a $9.3 million, 320 foot long pedestrian bridge across Southwest 8th St., making it easier for students, faculty and visitors to get from Sweetwater to the MMC campus. Munilla Construction Management and FIGG Bridge Engineers are teaming up to make the plans a reality and the bridge is expected to be completed by summer 2018.

“The MCM-FIGG Team is honored and blessed to have been selected to build this iconic bridge. It’s even more satisfying to serve the students and faculty of FIU again,” Jorge Munilla, the president of Munilla Construction Management said.

The building of the bridge isn’t the first time MCM has worked on an FIU-related project. The August 2012 expansion of the football stadium was also a success. Although proclaiming the bridge to be “iconic” will be a premature use of the adjective, the bridge will undoubtedly earn its own nickname as all the other FIU structures have.

The funds come from a grant by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation for $11.4 million. Leftover money will be used for improving the MMC entrances and the general 109th Ave. area. Another impressive use of the funds will be allocated towards the development of a smartphone app that will let users know what spaces may be available in a new FIU garage, in addition to traffic patterns and other transportation systems like the new Miami-Dade bus system.

While no student’s personal expenses are funding the project, there is a debate concerning whether or not the bridge is a good use of the grant money. There are certain side effects that could arise from its production, like exacerbated traffic or damaging the environment more with the flow of construction, whether it’s through added pollution from machines, cutting down trees or other waste.

On the other hand, it could alleviate traffic and car pollution post-construction for those who wish to walk or bike through the bridge rather than drive to their classes, since many students are commuters.

The construction also includes a concrete canopy that is 30 feet wide and overall, “enough width to allow for the comfortable passage of bikes and pedestrians as well as a space for special events and student seating,” according to FIU News.

Once the novelty and grandeur of the walkway wears off, the bridge can provide an excuse for students to exercise more. It would certainly be a more pleasant walk than taking the risk to cross 8th street.

A Randy Burkett-designed lighting system may aid in preventing crimes such as mugging or sexual harassment that would otherwise be covered up by darkness. This and keeping students dislocated from traffic are the main points of the safety goals and another major reason to be pro-construction.

Kenneth Jessell, the FIU Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer, would agree.

“The pedestrian bridge along with inviting walkways, lighting and landscaping, will offer a safer transportation route for our students and visitors between the Modesto A. Maidique Campus and the City of Sweetwater,” Jessell said.

The bridge will be a great addition to this area of Miami and to FIU. Miami needs more pedestrian-friendly parts and this might spark a movement in that direction. The bridge will be safer, more visually pleasing and it could bring people together to study, attend events and exercise more.

 

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community

 

Image from flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yelsnia/4918578654/sizes/l

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