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ATC breaks ground on S. Slappey pedestrian bridge

Albany Technical College (ATC) students are now one step closer to getting from one side of campus to the other on South Slappey Boulevard. /Tosin Fakile

Albany Technical College (ATC) students are now one step closer to getting from one side of campus to the other on South Slappey Boulevard.

The college held a ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday for its South Slappey pedestrian bridge. The college requested the bridge during the last SPLOST VI vote. Dr. Anthony Parker, President of ATC said they have collaborated with the city county before and the bridge is another excellent example of collaboration between the college and the city and the county.

"This time we're able to collaborate with them for a pedestrian bridge that will get our students across Slappey safely and allow us eventually to do some expansion," said Parker.

He said they are hoping the project is completed by March 2016. He said the foundations will be built on either side of the highway and the bridge will actually be assembled in another location.

"It will be trucked down to Albany and it will be laid out in that open area across the road and then be bolted or welded together," Parker added.

One of the buildings across the street on South Slappey is ATC's manufacturing technology center. He said there will be more high school students coming on the ATC campus for the "Move On When Ready" program and those students will be taking some of the engineering technology courses on both sides of the street.

"Of course we don't want any student exposed to that type of danger or injury but as we get a larger percentage of high school students on the campus we want to make it even more safe for them than we ordinarily would have. Nobody's gotten hit or injured and that's a good thing," Parker said.

According to Parker the bridge doesn't only benefit ATC students.

"It's also going to be good for this part of our community so that individuals that live in this part of town and maybe walk or pedestrians in this area will have the opportunity to cross safely also," Parker said.

Parker said they may be interested in acquiring property on the other side of the street and moving some other programs there so that they can expand and he didn't think it was responsible to do those things until they had resolved the safety concern first.

He said the pedestrian bridge costs about $1.3 million and is hoping there won't be any additional costs.

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