West Columbia announces pedestrian bridge over river, update on Meeting Street project

Posted 9/7/23

The City of West Columbia announced one major infrastructure upgrade this week and gave an update on progress for another.

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West Columbia announces pedestrian bridge over river, update on Meeting Street project


The City of West Columbia announced one major infrastructure upgrade this week and gave an update on progress for another.

The new upgrade is a pedestrian bridge across the Saluda River set to be installed next to the Botanical Gardens entrance to the Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens on Mohawk Drive. The West Columbia entrance to the zoo is accessible off U.S. Highway 378/Sunset Boulevard at the end of Botanical Parkway.

The design phase of the project, which will link West Columbia to the Saluda Riverwalk in Columbia, is set to begin soon, with the city promising that it will solicit input from “river stakeholders” as it begins the process.

Anna Huffman, the city’s director of public relations, told the Chronicle that the city doesn’t yet have a final cost estimate for the project, but the money to complete it will come from grant funds and city funds.

“Design will begin immediately,” Huffman said. “We have to obtain several permits from various state and federal entities before construction can begin. We anticipate it will take approximately nine months to obtain all the proper permits.”

She explained that land/lease agreements are in place or underway for the project. There is no exact address as of yet for the bridge, but they’re working to establish one ASAP.

“The pedestrian bridge project makes the Saluda River more accessible to West Columbia residents and visitors alike, providing essential amenities such as river access, parking, and restrooms, while promoting inclusivity through ADA accessible infrastructure,” the release enthuses. “The pedestrian bridge will become a vibrant connection for hikers, kayakers, and river enthusiasts, further enriching the City of West Columbia.”

The city is collaborating with the City of Columbia on the project.

“The City has worked for over 20 years towards a pedestrian bridge across the Saluda River. I am so excited we have taken this step to provide our citizens with better access to the river and greenway,” Mayor Tem Miles is quoted. “I want to personally recognize and thank Sen. Nikki Setzler for his never-ending support for our City and his passion for extending access to the river. He has done so much to help make this possible.”

“I am honored to have played a role in making this momentous bridge project a reality with some state support,” the state senator is quoted. “It will be transformational not only for West Columbia but the entire Midlands. The partnership between the City of West Columbia and the City of Columbia is a testament to what can be achieved when communities come together for the betterment of their citizens and the environment.”

West Columbia also shared an update on the major overhaul of the Meeting Street/U.S. Highway 1 corridor between State Street to 9th Street that council approved earlier this year.

At its Sept. 5 meeting, City Council was shown a rendering that "showcased enhancements, including on-street parking, dedicated left turn lanes, planted medians, pedestrian crosswalks, and shared-use paths designed to accommodate both walkers and bikers,” according to a release.

The project, which the city notes “will take place within the existing South Carolina Department of Transportation right of way and is being funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and SCDOT,” is now also set to include improvements further up U.S. 1, between Dreher Road and Wren Road. Per the release, these improvements will include:

  • Stamped Crosswalks and Mast Arm Traffic Signals — Stamped crosswalks and cutting-edge mast arm traffic signals will be installed at critical intersections, including Dreher Road and Leaphart Road, Wade Street and the Westside Plaza Shopping Center, as well as at U.S. 1 and the Wal-Mart entrance. These measures are designed to enhance pedestrian safety and streamline traffic flow.
  • Concrete and Landscaped Medians — The project will incorporate concrete and landscaped medians, further beautifying the corridor while assisting in traffic management.

According to the release, DOT is set to begin bidding out the project early next year.

Before the update on the scope of the project, the cost was reported as $3.5 million. An update on the cost wasn’t included with the new details.

“I am so excited for these projects,” Mayor Miles is quoted. “This work will help to push continued revitalization through the heart of West Columbia. This will directly improve the entire Highway 1 Corridor and greatly improve the areas adjacent to it.”

saluda riverwalk, west columbia walking bridge, meeting street beautificaiton


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