Mayor John Cooper diverts Gulch-SoBro bridge funding to transportation, public works projects

Mayor John Cooper
Mayor John Cooper speaks at his inauguration event Sept. 28 at Stratford STEM Magnet High School. Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper

Mayor John Cooper speaks at his inauguration event Sept. 28 at Stratford STEM Magnet High School. Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper

Mayor John Cooper announced Oct. 31 his plan to invest nearly $18 million in neighborhood infrastructure projects by reallocating capital spending funds previously dedicated to a pedestrian bridge connecting The Gulch and South Broadway.

More than two-thirds of the available $17.8 million will be dedicated to other bridge and culvert projects, while the remaining $4 million will go towards bikeways, traffic calming, emergency road work and other city needs.

“When $18 million for the SoBro-Gulch Pedestrian Bridge was allocated in 2013, that amount represented 100% of the funding for bridge repair and construction for the entire 2014 fiscal year," Cooper said. "Currently, [Metro Nashville] Public Works estimates that $131 million is needed to repair and replace our bridges and culverts. Now is the time for responsible spending to address our most critical infrastructure needs and focus on the safety and priorities that impact all of Nashville’s neighborhoods.”

According to Cooper, the unspent $17.8 million of the dedicated $18 million for the pedestrian bridge will instead fund the following projects throughout Davidson County:

  • $13.63 million will fund bridge and culvert projects in 24 council districts, which Cooper said are ranked in order of urgency by MNPW. More than 50 other projects will also receive funding.

  • $660,000 will be dedicated to replacing the Shelby Bottoms Greenway Pedestrian Bridge in East Nashville. The bridge has been closed due to structural damage.

  • $1.5 million will fund traffic calming projects.

  • $750,000 will be dedicated to bikeways.

  • $500,000 will be dedicated to new trash and recycling containers.

  • $410,000 will be dedicated to emergency roadway work.

  • $500,000 will be dedicated to street lighting maintenance, repair and replacement.

“We need a long-term solution for connectivity in the Gulch and throughout our neighborhoods,” Cooper said. “Bikeways and walkways certainly help advance our connectivity goals, and there may be a time when we revisit the concept of a Gulch pedestrian bridge. But this reallocation of funds allows us to get to work on shovel-ready projects throughout our neighborhoods with residents’ safety and critical infrastructure priorities in mind.”


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