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BYU tearing up roads in favor of green pedestrian space

By Sam Penrod | Posted - May 8th, 2013 @ 8:15pm

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PROVO — Pardon the dust.

That's the message coming from Brigham Young University as the school begins a massive construction project to eliminate roads on the campus in favor of creating green space.

It's a major undertaking, and the work is proving to be more about destruction than construction.

There has been a lot of progress in just a couple days. Crews have already demolished the pedestrian bridge that used to connect the Wilkinson Center and the Law School over East Campus Drive. It's all part of an effort to make the BYU campus more pedestrian friendly and walkable.

There's noise, there's dust and there is no question that a lot of the BYU campus is now a construction zone due to the Campus Drive redesign Project.

"They are tearing things apart," said BYU student Eric Backman. "There is just a lot of construction."

The work started Monday as East Campus Drive was permanently closed. For drivers, it will take some time to get use to.

"I live on south campus and it is easier to drive and park, but today when I tried to come to the (Wilkinson Student Center), I had to go all the way around campus which was kind of a problem and nuisance, to be honest," said student Cassie Workman.


University officials believe closing the road will make it safer for students who live in dorms and will no longer have to cross an often busy street. It will also add more green space. An artist's sketch of the finished project includes a roundabout to make it easier to drop off and pick up, at the Wilkinson Center.

"The beautiful plaza that will now exist between the law school and the campus will really help to unify that area," said BYU spokesperson Carri Jenkins. "But another part will be to be create a safer, more pedestrian-friendly environment on the campus."

While the construction work isn't popular right now, students believe it will be worth it.

"I have seen what their plans are and what their goal is, and i think it will be alright," Backman said.

For students like Workman whose time is short at BYU, they just hope it is finished soon, so they get to enjoy it. That's the good news for students: This is a three phase project and all work will be finished by Aug. 15, just in time for fall semester.

However, the following two summers will see more of campus drive eliminated and replaced with green space, and believe it or not, a few more parking spaces.


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