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OREM — A proposed pedestrian bridge over I-15 at Utah Valley University is now one step closer.
The Orem City Council voted this week to amend the city’s master transportation plan to include the potential development of the bridge that would connect the UVU campus on the east to the commuter rail station across the freeway to the west.
Assistant city manager Jamie Davidson said the move was a pre-emptive maneuver that will allow the city to be prepared to apply for federal funds if and when the bridge proposal moves forward in the future.
“This pedestrian bridge would not only make a connection between (FrontRunner) and the main UVU campus, but it would also make a connection to a west side campus that could be better developed with … the addition of a pedestrian bridge,” he said.
Davidson noted that no formal plans have been discussed thus far, but installing a bridge would help alleviate some of the traffic congestion plaguing the area around University Parkway in Orem.
Currently, shuttle buses take students back and forth between UVU and FrontRunner. Ideally, a bridge that spanned the distance over the freeway would provide an excellent alternative to vehicle transportation as well as presenting opportunities for expansion of the UVU campus, he said.
Orem partnered with UVU on a development study, Davidson said, and the school is expected to make a similar amendment to its master plan — making the bridge proposal potentially more likely.
The estimated cost of an enclosed pedestrian bridge would be in the $10 million range, he said. Where the funding would come from is something the city would need to figure out if the project were to come to fruition.
Davidson is hopeful that the Utah Department of Transportation might also consider becoming a partner in the proposal, but no such discussions have taken place yet.