Jan 26, 2010

Bridge to East Campus closed

by Allison Cundiff

The Liberty University Drive bridge that connects East Campus and Main Campus is closed to vehicles due to an ongoing construction project.

Liberty’s Director of Planning and Construction, Charles Spence, said the bridge is still open for pedestrians. Spence said that it is safe for pedestrians to use the bridge, and that pedestrians will not interfere with the construction.

Spence said the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is constructing the bridge and it may take until April to finish up the job. VDOT began construction shortly after the New Year.

According to Liberty staff member Maggie Cossman, Liberty will not have to pay for the project. VDOT received a grant from the state to fund the construction.

“I’m glad that they’re doing it, but I wish that they’d started it earlier,” said senior Amanda Boone, an East Campus resident.
The work is going on daily in order to finish as soon as possible, and Spence said he is hoping that the project may not actually take until April.

“I have noticed that traffic is a lot busier at the light going into Liberty beside Hardee’s, because everyone has to sit at that light just to get into campus,” said junior Caris James, a commuter student.

VDOT wants to provide safer pedestrian access to students crossing from Main Campus to East Campus. Spence said the project will include a protected walkway separating pedestrians from vehicles, two new pedestrian crosswalks and several new sidewalks.

VDOT began construction on the new sidewalks, located along Liberty Mountain Drive and outside Doc’s Diner, in November of last year. On the opposite end of the bridge, sidewalks outside of Barnes and Noble will be connected to the bridge.

Cossman said that when the project is completed, students will be able to walk all the way from East Campus to Main Campus without being in the way of traffic.

“I’m glad they’re putting up the barrier for pedestrians, because I’ve walked on that bridge and it was sort of an accident waiting to happen,” said Boone.

VDOT considered several different bridges from around the area for the project and decided the bridge on Liberty Mountain Drive had more impact on a higher number of pedestrians than other bridges because of Liberty’s student population. Liberty was not involved in the selection.

“It takes a lot longer for cars and buses to get around campus, but I understand it’s necessary,” said sophomore Sarah Butcher, an East Campus resident.

While VDOT is working on the Liberty Mountain Drive bridge, Liberty is working on a second bridge in a different location on campus. Spence said that the bridge Liberty is working on will be located off of Highway 460 and Route 29 near East Campus.
The bridge will come off near the Lynchburg Airport.

“(The second bridge) will give better access to the campus and will better develop the property for growth,” said Spence.

According to Spence, when construction is completed on the new bridge, traffic should be less congested because it will provide another way for students to get on and off campus.

Contact Allison Cundiff at
ancundiff@liberty.edu.


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