Tempe starts construction on pedestrian bridge

Walkers, bicyclists and runners all around Tempe Town Lake will soon be connected.

The City of Tempe broke ground this week on a pedestrian walkway that will link the north and south sides of the lake.

The project is primarily funded through federal grants and will be complete in early August, said Tempe’s Communication and Media Relations Director Nikki Ripley.

“The purpose and the benefit of it is so that walkers, runners and bicyclists can get all the way around the lake,” Ripley said.

She said the bridge will provide a way for pedestrians and bikers to loop around the two-mile-long lake without using an overpass designed for cars, which has been a common inconvenience for Tempe residents for years.

Kayla Baker, a communications junior who bikes to class, agreed the bridge could make travel easier.

“It seems likes it’s going to be really convenient,” Baker said.

The construction process for the 12-foot wide bridge will be visible to ASU students and Tempe residents until its completion in August.

The beginning phases of the construction are underway and two large cranes are lifting and mounting sections of the bridge into place, Ripley said.

“The federal funding was applied for many years ago,” she said. “This project has been years in the making.”

The bridge will support the city’s Tempe In Motion program, which promotes all modes of alternative transportation, including walking, biking and the METRO Light Rail.

The bridge is an important component to the bike and walk aspect of their mission, Ripley said.

“It will be a great, much needed link between the north and south side of the lake,” said Sue Taaffe, community outreach marketing coordinator for Tempe. “It will really complete the loop around the lake for bicyclists and pedestrians.”

Tempe residents have regularly expressed to the city that they would like to see more bike paths and more bike amenities, she said.

“This is just one more piece of the puzzle,” Taaffe said.

Reach the reporter at ktenagli@asu.edu

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