By: Lindsay Mulhollen
Many students may not remember when the Mill Street bridge was open three years ago; after seeing a total rebuild, the bridge is able to be used once again. One lane of traffic is open each way, as well as one sidewalk for pedestrian traffic; these parts of the bridge will remain open through the final stages of construction, which are mainly cosmetic.
A full rebuild was determined necessary due to the age and condition of the bridge, which was originally built in 1904 and had its last improvements in the 1950’s.
Students are glad the bridge was reopened, but irritated over the amount of time for which it remained closed.
“It was very inconvenient that it was closed,” Senior Sara Molnar said, who lived in Quaker through part of the time the bridge was out.
“Took them long enough,” senior Anthony Codispoti added.
The bridge was closed from Aug. 10, 2009 to Aug. 22, 2011 and was reopened for the start of the school year. Originally, the bridge was planned to reopen in the spring of 2010. The bridge connects Broadway to College Street and gives students another access point to downtown.
The new bridge will feature LED street lighting, a center arch that connects the Quaker Square surface parking lots and University of Akron motifs that will be etched onto the sidewalks at a later time.
Molnar feels safer with the new streetlights in place.
“With all the reports of crime around campus, even though they are mostly on south campus, lighted areas always make me feel safer when walking in the evening or night,” Molnar said.
Another senior, Josh Bane, stated “I’m excited the mill street bridge is open, but since the sidewalks still seem unfinished, I don’t feel safe crossing it as a pedestrian.” Once this walkway is finished, perhaps the feeling of safety will increase for UA students when crossing this bridge.
The bridge was primarily funded by the federal government. With a project totaling roughly $10 million, about $6.3 million had come from stimulus funds; the University itself contributed $20,000.