A bridge to the past: Columbus eyesore transformed into a beautiful pedestrian walkway, pavillion
At one time, Harry Sanders considered the Old Tombigbee River Bridge in Columbus, Mississippi, to be an “eyesore” that had seen better days.
In fact, Sanders, the president of the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors, told The Dispatch of Columbus he thought the bridge should have been torn down. Now the lifelong Columbus resident is glad that didn’t happen.
The bridge, built in 1927 and closed in 1991, has been reopened – and re-purposed.
Thanks to a $2.7 million rehabilitation project that was designed and managed by Neel-Schaffer, it’s now a pedestrian/bicycle trail and park, an area available for special events.
“Today, standing here, I think it’s a wonderful thing,” Sanders told The Dispatch after the bridge reopened in November of 2013.
The project was a joint venture, funded by a transportation enhancement grant from MDOT, the City of Columbus, Lowndes County and the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The rehab, performed by Malouf Construction, was extensive, from new underwater footings to enhanced lighting. All paint was stripped and the 604-foot bridge was repainted from end to end and top to bottom. Many structural components were repaired or replaced. Guardrails and rotted boardwalks also were replaced.
The new bridge has been a hit with residents as well as visitors like Bennett Bearden of nearby Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who wrote: “You guys did a marvelous job refurbishing a structure, which in my judgment, is the very symbol of your fair city.”