Ringgold, Ga., may get a pedestrian bridge over the busiest street in its historic downtown after all.
City officials have long hoped to install the span over Nashville Street, also known as U.S. Highway 41, to connect the historic train depot, a popular spot for musical performances and other events, to an underused, city-owned parking area with 52 spaces.
The plan hit a snag in early July, when only one bid came in to install the bridge: $368,500 from Chattanooga-based Raines Brothers Inc.
That would have put the city on the hook to pay $218,500 out of pocket, since the Catoosa County Commission allocated $150,000 from 2009 special purpose local option sales tax revenue to help Ringgold fund the bridge.
That was too pricey for the City Council.
“It was a no-brainer,” Vice Mayor Nick Millwood said.
Now, however, a little more than $100,000 has been shaved off the bridge’s estimated installation cost.
Savings were discovered during discussions with bridge architect Ross Andrews and Raines Brothers’ President Marvin Cornelison.
“It’s a combination of a whole lot of changes,” Cornelison said.
The biggest discount involved a natural gas main and gas valve that the bridge was designed around to save the expense of moving the underground utilities.
Turns out, Cornelison said, the gas company has to relocate the gas line and valve if the city says so.
Once the gas line is out of the way, the pedestrian bridge can be designed and installed for less money, Cornelison said.
Even with the cost savings, the project may cost the city around $160,000, Millwood said. The City Council likely will consider the pedestrian bridge again at its Jan. 27 meeting, he said.
Millwood said the bridge would increase downtown’s overall walkability, not just between the depot and the parking lot.
“I’m kind of on the fence about it at this point,” he said. “It’s a lot of money, but it’s a really, really cool thing to have.”
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6651.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.