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North Raleigh Residents Want To Give DOT Footbridge The Boot

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RALEIGH, N.C. — There is only one spot along Interstate 540 where pedestrian traffic is a priority over car traffic.

The state Department of Transportation is building a pedestrian bridge to keep a North Raleigh neighborhood connected. However, some residents would like to give the footbridge the boot.

Crews are putting the final touches on the only "people" bridge over I-540. The footbridge is $1.5 million worth of concrete, steel and protective fencing.

Interstate 540 cuts the Thorpshire Farm neighborhood in half; the pedestrian bridge was supposed to hold the neighborhood together.

"It's really a problem getting in and out," said resident Joan Geiger. "But if we had this road that we had before, if we had it still, then we'd have other options. So we had that taken away from us."

The footbridge rises up out of Geiger's backyard. She said that for all the expense, she wished it could have been a road bridge, allowing traffic to flow freely through the neighborhood.

"The pedestrian bridge actually takes up less room than a road bridge," said Bob Shultes, a DOT engineer. "The road bridge has more concerns involved, the amount of traffic cutting through the neighborhood. We thought it would be better, or more well-suited for the neighborhood, for a pedestrian bridge to maintain that low traffic volume."

"I don't see it as a burden. I see it as an expense, a needless expense," Geiger said. "A lot more money and construction went into it than I think was necessary."

Colesbury Drive used to be one of the main drags in Thorpshire Farm, but not anymore. The DOT has heard an earful of complaints from the neighbors, but said the people bridge is simply the best option.

"It's progress, I have no problem with that," Geiger said. "The overpass and taking our road away, that was something we didn't anticipate. That was a disappointment."

Like it or not, the pedestrian bridge is expected to be open for business in August.


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