EAT. PLAY. GO. to take a stroll on the 5th Street Pedestrian Bridge
AUGUSTA, Ga. - One spot in downtown Augusta is aiming to be the middle ground connecting Georgia and South Carolina, and not just their borders.
The 5th Street pedestrian bridge opened to pedestrians late last year, but growth hasn't stopped there.
"The idea of making this pedestrian bridge has been around for a long time," Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce president Sue Parr said.
There's a lot of history behind the bridge, including the "turn" sign on the pavement that has been maintained.
Parr explains the purpose of the sign. "Back in the day, it needed to pivot for the barges that were too tall to come up the river and some of that has been maintained," she said.
Running through the middle of the two states, the bridge has a breathtaking view of the Savannah River.
"The idea of making this pedestrian bridge has been around for a long time," Parr explained.
Parr said the 2012 TSPLOST money just wasn't enough to return the bridge to its original purpose, for traffic. "It could've ended up being, you know, asphalt. And bike paths for people to go across. But, we wanted people to come to the bridge and stay on the bridge, not just use it to get from point A to point B," she said.
The penny sales tax was used to make it into the pedestrian bridge.
Folks on both sides of the river now use it for walking, biking and even a little music and things for the kids. "We encourage people with families to have their children do chalk drawings," Parr said.
Pedestrians can hang out on the seats on the bridge, take an educational tour or check out the art including a shark sculpture. Plus, Parr said they plan to add more things to do.
"On the Georgia side of the river, we have very little opportunity to engage with the river and so that's what this bridge does. It gives people an opportunity to go out over the river and to just relax," she said.
The newest addition to the bridge is free Wi-Fi. "So, when you are on the bridge, you don't have to worry about using that cell service," Parr explained.
She said the main goal is to try and connect the communities. "We are hoping that the folks in North Augusta in South Carolina and Aiken County see a benefit to this. This is a catalyst to create more synergy between both sides of the river," she smiled.
The city and chamber are brainstorming other projects like a possible zipline over the water off the bridge.
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