COLORADO SPRINGS– The new pedestrian bridge connecting downtown Colorado Springs to America the Beautiful Park officially opened Thursday.
The 250-foot Park Union Bridge will help connect people from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic museum to America the Beautiful Park entrance.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the bridge is designed for walkers, bikers, and visitors looking for an easier way into the city.
“Bridges do two things, they take us places physically as this bridge does but they also take us symbolically and i think this bridge is a bridge of the future for Colorado Springs… I can pretty much guarantee that this pedestrian bridge will be one of the more iconic pedestrian bridges in the country if not the world,” Suthers said.
The bridge is one of the two key infrastructure projects aimed at redeveloping downtown. The second being the redesigned Vermijo Avenue turning it into a wide pedestrian walkway.
One of the Park Union Bridge’s project leaders, Chris Jenkins, CEO Norwood Development Group said the structure is one of several projects being constructed to improve downtown. He said he’s excited to see how much the city grows in the coming years.
“When you start to think about where do people want to live, where do people want to work, where do hospitality and other tourism assets come, those are now attracted to be here and so that is what our future will hold in the next phases as park union develops,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said the bridge took nearly 30 years to complete from the project idea to its grand opening. The price tag of the project was $18.7million funded in part through the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, Regional Tourism Act funding (RTA) granted by the successful City for Champions application, and Colorado Springs Utilities.
“Downtown is going to thrive. The city has so many great things happening with it and put this in the portfolio of things that are happening within our community we’re definitely a city on the rise and that makes me feel tremendous,” Jenkins said.
The bridge also stitches together a growing network of pedestrian bicycle paths including the Pikes Peak Greenway and Midland Trail running alongside Monument Creek.
Design elements include an elevator, staircase, ADA and bike-friendly accommodations with bicycle wells and an overlook at the west end of the bridge.
For more information on the Park Union Bridge and more downtown projects visit the city’s website.