Gadsden council member suggests turning Coosa River bridge into pedestrian walkway

Proposal to close Broad Street bridge to cars in Gadsden

GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - A Gadsden city council member wants the council to consider closing one of the city’s oldest bridges.

The two-lane Broad Street Bridge, officially known as the Coosa River Memorial Bridge, has been open to traffic since 1927.

No one’s planning to close it anytime soon, but council member Jason Wilson is suggesting closing it to motor vehicles and turning it into a pedestrian walkway.

It would tie downtown Gadsden to the Coosa Landing, the Riverwalk Park, and the Venue for pedestrians, and also encourage people to walk wherever they want to go in that part of Gadsden.

Wilson says he got the idea after seeing a similar bridge in Chattanooga.

"And the more we can make Gadsden a walkable city, the better. And so one day, maybe if we can get that 759 extension project completed, it would relieve some of the pressure on Broad Street Bridge, and it would allow us to develop that into a pedestrian bridge," said Wilson.

Discussion of the idea came up this week at a committee meeting, where the idea of expanding the entertainment district was being discussed. Wilson also suggested river tours and a cross-river zip line, were a young entrepreneur be interested.

The bridge closes annually for an event called "Sunset Sips," a fundraiser for Downtown Gadsden, Inc.

It probably won't happen anytime soon because there's not immediate funding available to expand I-759. And without that, closing the Broad Street Bridge would likely bring in even more traffic to the nearby intersection of Meighan Boulevard and Hood Avenue.

A similar idea is being floated in Southside in Etowah County. They’ve been pushing for a new, two lane northbound bridge for Highway 77, and to turn the 1930s era bridge already spanning the Coosa River into a pedestrian walkway and fishing pier. It, too, depends on highway funding, as Southside city officials have been seeking funding for the newer two lane bridge for years.

Copyright 2019 WBRC. All rights reserved.