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Long-awaited lower Manhattan pedestrian bridge will open this fall

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The bridge will be named after Robert R. Douglass, an advocate for the neighborhood’s recovery post 9/11

WXY Architecture, courtesy of NYCEDC

The West Thames pedestrian bridge near the World Trade Center, which has been in the works for nearly a decade, will finally open to the public.

This week, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced its plans to open the 230-foot bridge to pedestrians in the fall, and name it after Robert R. Douglass, one of the founders of the Alliance for Downtown New York, which pushed for the rebuilding of lower Manhattan after 9/11.

The two-span steel lenticular truss bridge—designed by Thornton Tomassetti and WXY Architecture, and built by Skanska—will be installed over West Street, crossing from West Thames Street to Joseph P. Ward Street, and will provide a direct link from Battery Park City to the Financial District (without having to cross the traffic-clogged stretch of West Street).

The bridge’s installation faced several roadblocks over the years, including a weld defect last August and funding issues back in 2010, when it was initially poised to be installed. NYCEDC finally broke ground on the project in 2016.

“Everyone in lower Manhattan is looking forward to the completion of this bridge,” Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, said in a statement. “This is one of the many physical milestones that will continue to illustrate our neighborhood’s recovery.”

Replacing the temporary Rector Street Bridge (built to restore access to Battery Park City after 9/11), the Robert R. Douglass Bridge will offer views to the World Trade Center and the lower Manhattan skyline.

“We thank New Yorkers for their input and patience while the NYCEDC and Skanska worked to create a safe structure that respectfully complements the historic World Trade Center site,” Daniel Ciniello, acting president of the lower Manhattan Development Corporation, said in a statement.