Finishing touches

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Al Key/DRC
An employee of Massana Construction walks across the new pedestrian bridge to the University of North Texas’ Apogee Stadium on Thursday in Denton.
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Crews getting pedestrian bridge at UNT ready for Tuesday-night showdown

Construction crews are putting the final touches on the University of North Texas pedestrian bridge. A ceremony to celebrate its opening will be held Tuesday before the football game against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

The bridge, which is 20 feet wide, 354 feet long and 17 feet tall, will offer a safer, more direct route from UNT’s main campus to Apogee Stadium.

Initially, officials with the Texas Department of Transportation and UNT weren’t sure the bridge would be ready by Tuesday.

UNT decided to delay adding some design features to make sure the bridge would be completed in time for the game.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bridge will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Student groups will march from Kerr and Bruce residence halls to the entrance to the pedestrian bridge, just south of Fouts Field.

Denton County Judge Mary Horn and UNT President Lane Rawlins will cut the ribbon to officially open the bridge. Rawlins and Rudy Reynosa, president of the Student Government Association, will lead a ceremonial first march across the bridge.

Construction on the $2.5 million project began in February.

UNT contributed $1 million to the project and donated the right of way for the land on either side of the interstate.

The rest of the project was paid for by regional toll revenues.

UNT had to give TxDOT the right of way because it was going to manage the project and the bridge is over the highway, said TxDOT spokeswoman Michelle Releford.

“The ownership isn’t related to who owns the land,” she said.

Once the bridge is complete, UNT will officially resume ownership and will be responsible formaintenance of the bridge, she said.

TxDOT’s crew, Massana Construction Inc., built the bridge and is now completing the finishing touches, including testing the lights and smoothing the concrete, Releford said.

The rainy weather over the past couple of weeks has not affected the work, she said.

UNT’s crew is working on the connecting sidewalks. The university was planning to add a “Green Light to Greatness” motif in the concrete, based on the university’s new tagline, but will hold off on that and landscaping until later.

The sidewalks the university is adding will be paid for by UNT and are not included in the money UNT has already paid. The paving project cost the university about $130,000.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is rmehlhaff@dentonrc.com .


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