GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — People will have to find another way to cross the Grand River on foot for a few months while the Blue Bridge in Grand Rapids undergoes a $1.1 million makeover.
The former rail bridge this week was closed for 3 months for the rehabilitation. The project includes patching and sealing the bridge deck, replacing some sidewalk, painting the bridge trusses a fresh coat of blue and adding color-changing LED lights.
Crews also will install electrical boxes for possible use during special events, said Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kris Larson. The Downtown Development Authority and a state grant are paying for the work.
The bridge plays an important role in the western Michigan city's increasingly popular ArtPrize festival. It closed Tuesday and is to reopen Aug. 30, just in time for ArtPrize 2013, WOOD-TV reported.
"I anticipate the goal is to get that thing reopened before ArtPrize because that's obviously a big piece as far as pedestrians," City Engineer Mark De Clercq told MLive.com.
The bridge also came to prominence this spring as photos taking during the Grand River's record flooding showed the water level approaching perilously close to the walkway.
Developers last winter sought public opinions on what color to repaint the bridge, which serves the campus of Grand Valley State University. The school's primary color, "Laker Blue," won the survey, although the LED lights will enable the bridge to take on a different appearance at night from time to time.
The bridge was converted to pedestrian use 25 years ago and is closed to motor vehicles.
The city is recommending that pedestrians affected by the closure use the Pearl Street bridge with access from Front Avenue on the west side of the river and from Campau Avenue on the east side of the river.
Project details: http://bit.ly/11X2VN0