LOWER MANHATTAN — After years of delays, a long planned Downtown pedestrian bridge is finally under construction.
Officials gathered Tuesday to break ground on the West Thames Street bridge, a 230-foot elevated corridor that will rise above busy West Street, connecting the Financial District and Battery Park, when it's slated to be completed in 2018.
The metal and glass bridge has been in the works for nearly a decade. The connection will replace the much-maligned Rector Street bridge, a structure that was meant to be temporary in the wake of 9/11, but has remained in use for years.
The final plan for West Thames bridge, which will run from West Thames and Little West streets to Joseph P. Ward and West streets, is designed by WXY Architecture and engineering firm Weidlinger Associates.
The project's budget, which has ballooned from around $20 million to more than $40 million over the years, is being funded with $33 million in federal money through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as a grant through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation — an organization created after 9/11 to help rebuild Lower Manhattan. The Battery Park City Authority is also contributing $8.2 million, and will be primarily responsible for its maintenance.
When complete, the bridge will feed into the plaza of luxury condo 50 West Street. The space, open 24 hours, will include planters, tables and chairs, as well as an outdoor gallery.
The bridge will include an elevator and stairs, but no ramps, which was a point of contention for some in the surrounding communities.