Charleston city officials got a look at early conceptual renderings of the cyclist and pedestrian-only Ashley River bridge under development at a virtual city council committee meeting Monday morning.
Jason Kronsberg, the city’s director of parks, told members of the Traffic and Transportation Committee the project is progressing through the design-build phase of the project, which includes technical assessments and checks with state and federal agencies before beginning to talk with potential firms about construction.
The renderings discussed Monday are subject to change as the planning process moves ahead.
The renderings shown Monday show the “Ashley River Crossing” bridge as a cable-stayed swing span drawbridge with a single pivot point on the south side of the existing channel opening.
Initial renderings show a 150-foot movable span that does not alter the alignment of the initial channel used by vessels to pass the river’s two existing drawbridges. Renderings also show spaces for outlooks on either side of the movable span.
Improvements that come with the bridge’s construction include more robust cyclist and pedestrian crossings connecting the bridge to the West Ashley Greenway and downtown medical district. Charleston has been granted more than $18 million in federal money to build the additional bridge, billed as a way to ferry non-car travelers on and off the peninsula for recreation and commuting. A number of cyclists have been struck crossing the existing bridges, with the latest fatal accident coming just late Friday when a 23-year-old Texas man was struck by a car and killed while riding his bike over the bridge.
Kronsberg said the initial timeline for construction has the bridge complete in 2025, though initial phases may move faster. If costs exceed initial funding, Tecklenburg said Monday the city could pursue funding from a number of sources to cover additional costs.