Walkway plan OKed by council

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

People at the UA will soon be able to "walk on air" from one campus building to another.

At Monday night's City Council meeting, the council gave the University of Arizona approval to build a pedestrian overpass connecting the Main Gate Complex to the Main Gate parking garage, both of which are currently under construction near North Euclid Avenue and East Second Street.

The university had to ask the City Council for "air rights over Second Street" before beginning construction on the campus's first pedestrian overpass, which has been a planned aspect of the Main Gate project, said Joel Valdez, vice president of business affairs. Since the university "does not own" the area roads, council approval is needed for any projects that involve building over or under roads, he said.

The council approved the measure unanimously without discussion.

The 127-foot-long open-air walkway will connect the third floor of the garage with the complex's third-floor Extended University offices, said Bob Preble, assistant manager of UA space management. But rather than "everyone tracking through the Extended University," walkers will be encouraged to use a staircase from the walkway to the ground level and then enter the complex's main entrance, he said.

Using the overpass to walk directly from one structure to the other will be safer, especially at night, Valdez said.

The estimated cost of the overpass is about $180,000, Preble said. The cost is included in the $14.3 million budget for the entire Main Gate project, Valdez said.

The five-floor Main Gate administrative complex will cost about $10 million to build and will house about 400 employees from 17 university departments after it opens in January 1996. The $4.3 million garage, will offer a total of 1,080 parking spots for students, faculty, administrators and hotel employees. The garage was scheduled to open in January, but has been delayed due to weather.

Construction on the overpass will likely begin in about two months when the parking garage is completed, Preble said.

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