New bridge allows students to safely cross U.S. 1 in Coral Gables

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - A new bridge opening in Coral Gables is giving pedestrians safe passage across a major highway.

Sleek and metallic, students at the University of Miami said the bridge has been much needed for a long time.

“It just really does show that when you do speak up and you speak out about something, tangible results can happen,” said student Gyles Ward. “I remember freshman year, trying to cross the street just to get to TGI Fridays or to go to CVS, things that students really need to do on a weekly basis, and it would be difficult because you would have to press the button, you would have to wait for the cars to go.”

Members of the community pushed for the bridge’s construction after the 2005 death of freshman Ashley Kelly while crossing U.S. 1.

Kelly was not the first fatality while crossing the street in the area. Two other deaths had already taken place in 1990 and 1998.

The university said, in a 23-year period, eight students have been struck while crossing the street in the area.

“This is one project that specifically highlights how tragic a student death can be and how we can all work together to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said student Samantha Martin.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, along with the university’s president and students came out for the unveiling of the new bridge.

“The construction of this bridge has truly been a collaborative effort between the City of Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, University of Miami — everybody involved with trying to make sure this is a safe crossing for our transit riders and also, our students,” Gimenez said.

“Built out of steel and tempered out of even stronger community concern, this overpass will ensure the safety of countless of thousands every year,” said UM President Julio Frenk.

In total, the bridge cost $6 million to build.

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