Howard Bridge Set to Open Feb. 18

A bird's-eye-view of construction going on on the Howard bridge. Photo by Keegan Millbern.

After the demolition of the pedestrian bridge near Platt-Howard in the Fall of 2017, the Lewis & Clark community has been unsure as to when the bridge’s reconstruction would be completed.  Michel George, Associate Vice President for Facilities, confirmed that the official opening of the bridge is scheduled for Feb. 18.

George explained why the project has taken more time than expected.

“This is a very complex project,” George said. “We got tied up for about six months in permitting because the project is in an environmental zone that limits what you can do and how in the area. The project is also reviewed by multiple city departments and has to go out for a public review, all of which take time.”

According to Denise King, the Assistant Director of Budgeting and Planning, the new bridge is very much needed.

“Students were tripping and falling on the old one, especially during the winter months with all of the ice,” King said.

Additionally, King said that, due to EPA regulations, the zoning and permitting processes was especially complicated, and they had to cut down as little trees as possible.

Furthermore, there were many essential utilities stationed under the bridge and simply couldn’t be relocated.

According to George, building the bridge has been a complicated project.

“Rather than just taking down the old bridge and building a new one, we had to partially deconstruct the old bridge leaving the existing utilities in place, build the new bridge on top of the old one, detach the utilities from the old bridge and attach them to the new bridge, then demolish the rest of the old bridge in small pieces by hand,” George said.

There was also a great deal of work done by the facilities office behind the scenes.

“Facilities staff acted as project managers, managing the permit process and supervising and coordinating the design process,” George said.

The construction of the bridge has specifically affected residents of Platt-Howard. Megan Nellor ’22, resident of Howard discussed dorm life during construction.

“The trucks started pretty early, like 8:00 a.m. I think, and it always woke me up,” Nellor said. “They started even earlier last semester.”

The water shutting down in Howard last Monday served as a challenge for Nellor.

“I had gym class that day, and I was really worried that I would have to shower in someone else’s dorm,” Nellor said. “Luckily, I had water in my tea kettle and water bottle, so I was able to use that to brush my teeth.”

Students and faculty are looking forward to the long-awaited reveal of the Howard bridge on February 18th.

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