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Mixed reactions pouring in over Fifth Street pedestrian bridge

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT|Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 7:41 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Mixed reactions are pouring in over these new design plans for the Fifth Street pedestrian bridge. It’s a $10.5 million project that could include a history walk, a shaded plaza, art, kid zones, and more all with the goal of bringing more foot traffic downtown.

Some love the idea, others not so much. What are some of the concerns of those not on board?

It’s continued development for downtown. You’d think everybody would be on board but many people have concerns over how safe the bridge will be and if people will actually use it.

“It’s a good way to mitigate, not being able to fix the bridge,” said John Curry, owner of Buona Caffe downtown and someone who has lived in Augusta for several years.

When he’s not making coffee he enjoys walking the North Augusta Greenway and Riverwalk. So, a new Fifth Street bridge for pedestrians has him excited.

“I think it’s all a good thing for Augusta’s growth and expansion and more things to do downtown,” he said.

The city closed it back in June with plans to make it a walkway connecting Augustan’s to the other side of the river.

“See, the river already brings in attraction, but really there’s no connectivity. So, it will create more connectivity and we already have a Riverwalk, the levy, there’s a lot of features already there so we can maximize all that,” said Hameed Malik, Augusta Director of Engineering.

We asked what you thought, many people loved it others questioned the safety.

“It should not be any problem taking the light load when people walk over there. Yes, definitely it will be safe,” he said. “We’re gonna have additional railings to the existing railings, you know, especially the small children.”

Crime is also a concern for some. Back in 2016, a shooting at the Riverwalk made cameras a ‘priority’ but not many were added. In SPLOST 8 the sheriff’s office requested $1 million for additional cameras downtown. They got half of what they requested. But Curry says he sees the community safety officers patrolling the area every day.

“Yeah, I’m sure we’ll go down there. I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t,” said Curry.

“Adding security features to the bridge if needed should not be that expensive,” said Mailk.

Malik says the concept designs are just the start. There are many opportunities for further development including a zipline over to North Augusta. The under bridge lights will also be added to the 13th street bridge. We’re told the bridge will also have a lane for emergency vehicle use and all the structural repairs are complete.

Right now leaders in North Augusta say they have no plans to expand the greenway or any development plans for their side of the Fifth Street bridge. Augusta expects it to be open for foot traffic by the end of this year.

5th street bridge concept designs
5th street bridge concept designs(City of Augusta)
5th Street Bridge Concepts
5th Street Bridge Concepts(City of Augusta)

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