On Wednesday, Dec. 7, the new Greene Street bridge over the railroad tracks near the Colonial Life Arena will open for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.
The opening of the new bridge will allow the railroad to close two existing crossings, that many University of South Carolina students say delays their daily commute.
According to Richland County Transportation Director Mike Maloney the bridge is Phase Two of the Innovista Plan which was released in 2007 and aims to improve access to the Congaree River.
The first phase of the project involved converting Greene Street from a four-lane and two-lane roadway to a three-lane roadway with sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes from Assembly to Gadsden streets. This phase was completed in 2017 through the County’s Penny program.
"Prior phases took care of Gadsden to Assembly this part takes it from Gadsden to Huger," said Maloney. "The bridge has widened sidewalks, so that bikes and pedestrians can cross without having to deal with things like mud rails."
The $23 million project was funded by the Richland County Penny Sales tax, which passed in 2012.
Phase three of the plan consists of extending Williams Street from Blossom to Senate Streets as well as connecting Greene Street to Williams street.
According to Maloney, the County will provide Penny funds planned for Innovista, but the City of Columbia will manage the project and the timeline for its completion.