Photo by Johnny Morris
Officials representing UVU, UDOT and Orem City broke ground at the Orem Central Frontrunner Station Thursday, June 14, celebrating the first step toward construction on the long-awaited pedestrian bridge for UVU students.
The project is expected to be completed August 2019 and is in partnership with UVU, UTA, UDOT, and Orem City. The 1000-foot bridge will provide pedestrians a direct walk over I-15 and Frontage Road and connects UVU’s west and east campuses.
Speaking at the event on their excitement of the groundbreaking were Rob Clayton, Region Three Director of UDOT, Lindon City Mayor Jeff Acerson, Orem City Mayor Richard Brunst, and Utah House of Representatives Speaker Greg Hughes.
The “inverted flux” designed bridge will consist of 1180 tons of steel and is expected to service all riders of the Frontrunner and the apartment dwellers on the west side of Orem.
Other bridge details include a completely covered walkway with nighttime lighting and a heated deck for winter snow melting. In addition, the bridge will have stairs and elevators on each end to meet accessibility needs.
In what he said would be his final public speech as president of UVU, Matthew Holland provided closing remarks at the event.
“For UVU today, signifies a giant step forward in the realization of our master plan, that itself was years in the making and maps out the full future of the university moving forward for the next 40 to 50 years,” Holland said.
Speaking to a crowd of students, faculty, press and community members, President Holland emphasized his gratitude to the project partners in making this bridge happen.
“On behalf of more than 40,000 students, staff and faculty at UVU, I’m so grateful that all these organizations and leaders have recognized how critical a pedestrian bridge is for the safety and the accessibility of our campus, as well as the stability and economic vitality of this community,” Holland said.
Speaking in support of the Palos Verdes project that is expected to hit ballots this year, Holland also mentioned the completion of such projects is vital in UVU’s plan for the foreseeable future.
“In the spirit of both of those positions, we do support the development of student housing for two discrete areas immediately adjacent to the eastern side of our main campus,” he said.
Holland believes that the completion of projects such as the pedestrian bridge and Palos Verdes will make UVU more accessible and improve campus life.
“In terms of delivering on our mission of student success, managing our growth and fostering an environmentally friendly practice, the completion of these projects is crucial,” Holland said. “We hope that everyone gathered here today, or observing from afar, sees this bridge as a tangible and significant sign of our commitment to make this happen.”
President Holland is leaving UVU June 30, 2018 to serve as an LDS mission president in South Carolina, and Astrid Tuminez will replace him as president.
Frank Young, associate vice president of facilities and planning with UVU who assisted in the steps leading up the project, believes the bridge will be one that has never been seen before.
“This is really going to be the gateway to some interesting commuter growth,” Young said. “The bridge is actually one-of-a-kind; we’re the first in the world to have this double-bend inverted Fink bridge, so it’s gonna put us on the map for a while.”
Mark Wait, a UVU ambassador and political science student, thinks that the groundbreaking of the pedestrian bridge will solve many commuter headaches.
“I used to live in Draper, so I actually took this Frontrunner everyday for about a year and a half to school. … I’ve experienced it first hand how sometimes it doesn’t run on time and then you’re late to class,” Wait said. “This bridge will be able to serve not only the students, but anyone from professors to people in the community to get over to UVU.”