NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Mayor John Cooper is scrapping a plan to build a pedestrian bridge that would connect the Gulch and SoBro neighborhoods in order to reallocate the funds for other infrastructure projects.
The unspent $17.95 million allocated for the bridge will immediately be made available for other Metro Public Works projects.
"The quality of our neighborhoods is measured, in large part, by the quality and safety of our roads and bridges," said Cooper. "When $18 million for the SoBro-Gulch Pedestrian Bridge was allocated in 2013, that amount represented 100 percent of the funding for bridge repair and construction for the entire 2014 fiscal year. Currently, Public Works estimates that $131 million is needed to repair and replace our bridges and culverts. Now is the time for responsible spending to address our most critical infrastructure needs and focus on the safety and priorities that impact all of Nashville's neighborhoods."
The money will be broken up into dozens of different projects.
Shovel-ready bridge and culvert projects will receive the majority of the funds, $13.63 million. Metro Public Works will work on 52 separate projects across 24 districts in order of urgency.
Metro Public Works will also receive $1.5 million for traffic calming.
Other projects include $660,000 to replace the Shelby Bottoms Greenway Pedestrian Bridge, $750,000 for bikeways, $500,000 for new trash and recycling containers, $410,000 for emergency roadway work and $500,000 for street light maintenance, repair and replacement.
Cooper said the idea of a Gulch pedestrian bridge is not completely off the table, as there may be a time when the city revisits the concept.
“There may be a Gulch bridge at some point in the future beautifully planned and executed, I hope with the help of CSX, but for now, we need the money right now in these districts," Cooper explained. “Now is the time for responsible spending for a prioritization of the community’s needs to address our most critical infrastructure needs and focus on Nashville neighborhoods.”
The bridge was planned to connect the area near Cummins Station to the Gulch by passing over the railroad tracks.