Save the iconic SHHS bridge #savetheSHHSbridge

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In May 14, it was reported in the Johnson City Press that the Science Hill pedestrian bridge was rapidly deteriorating and that it the commission determined it was too costly to replace. Today, it was reported that it will be torn down in two weeks’ time.
That bridge is Iconic to our city and is used on a daily basis.
When you consider that it is used daily by 218 students it doesn’t seem like it is used all that much, but when you do the math it is used by approximately 218 students for 180 days each year that is 39,240 uses. But it is used more that on an annual basis. AP testing was done at Heritage Church this spring and every student who took an AP test crossed that bridge twice. When there are events at Science Hill, from Football games to concerts to other meetings, people use Heritage Church’s parking lot as over flow and cross that bridge. If you use a rough estimate of 50,000 crossings a year by 10 years, it would come out as a cost of about .38 cents for each student crossing the bridge and that is if it just lasts for 10 years. If it lasts for 20 years it would be approximately .07 cents for each crossing. Over a 10 year span that would amount to approximately 500,000 crossings and over 20 years it would be 1,000,000 crossings. It is incomprehensible that you would think the safety of our children for the next 10 -20 years is not worth a few cents or 1.3 million dollars.
Drop off in the mornings and pick up in the afternoon at SHHS is already crazy enough but adding in 100-120 more cars into that mix each day is not ideal in any way. Enhancing cross walks which are at the corner of Liberty Bell, John Exum Parkway and Roan Street would not help either because students would not take the time to walk from the church parking lot down to them to cross. The Johnson City press Editorial of May 17, 2018 said it well, “As for crosswalks, we’d hate to see the city bog down the area even more by halting traffic as students cross. With four travel lanes and a median/turn lane, John Exum is one of the city’s most traveled thoroughfares. Science Hill sits at one of the city’s busiest “malfunction junctions” — the intersection of John Exum, Liberty Bell and the two legs of North Roan. The crosswalk idea brings to mind images of East Tennessee State University, where students often are seen playing human Frogger as they cross five lanes on West State of Franklin Road despite the presence of crosswalks and ETSU’s own bridge.”
Less than three weeks after the decision to take down the bridge you approved to spend over 3 million dollars on a yearlong birthday celebration. 1.5 million dollars of that would come from the city. This shows that you view a party as more important than the safety of our students. And you voted to put 1.8 million aside to protect History for the project to turn Langston Hughes into Multi cultural center. The SHHS Bridge is living history and an iconic structure in our city. Invest in the safety of our children.

In January 2012, Johnson City put up a 90 foot long 20 Ton pedestrian bridge over South Roan Street. The total cost was approximately $100,000. At the time of it’s placement Public Works Department street division Construction Supervisor Mike Williams stated that “the City is Contech-designed structure when it comes time to replace the bridge that crosses John Exum Parkway at Science Hill High School.” How did the price go up from $100, 000 to 1.3 million in just 6 years. I think our commission needs to look into this issue and build a bridge. ( Johnson City press January 31, 2012)



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