Public-Private Partnership to Create Rail Trail Pedestrian Bridge

CHARLOTTE, NC – A pedestrian bridge connecting Charlotte’s Uptown and South End is envisioned to become iconic infrastructure and an important link between two of the city’s major employment hubs, thanks to a public-private partnership unveiled today by business and community leaders. The pedestrian bridge will span I-277, closing a gap in the Charlotte Rail Trail.

As part of the project, U.S. Bank will commit $1 million to the design and construction of the bridge as its presenting sponsor. U.S. Bank will also make an additional financial commitment to animate the Rail Trail with programming, maintenance and experiential enhancements over the next five years.

“At U.S. Bank, we are committed to powering human potential and seeking out ways that we can contribute to the betterment of the communities we call home,” said Tim Welsh, vice chairman and head of Consumer & Business Banking at U.S. Bank. “We are proud to be a part of this exciting and important project that will help connect people, places and communities in new ways for years to come.”

U.S. Bank’s investment complements other private sector and nonprofit commitments, as well as funding from the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

“This unique partnership demonstrates the incredible commitment of our business community and elected leaders to co-invest in infrastructure and programming that will strengthen our community,” said Michael J. Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. “Bridging the gap between Uptown and South End will provide additional connectivity for residents, workers and guests, while further knitting together two of our great urban neighborhoods.”

A consultant team, led by engineering firm Thomas & Hutton’s Charlotte office, has been selected. The team also includes globally renowned structural engineering firm SBP, which has worked on projects such as New York’s 1 World Trade Center. Other local firms involved in the bridge project include design leader Depeña Studio, Integra Architecture and CMW Design Strategies.

Closing the gap in the Rail Trail by linking Uptown and South End with a pedestrian bridge was a key component of the South End Vision Plan, adopted by City Council in 2018. It was also a strategy recommended by the Center City 2020 Vision Plan.

“Today’s announcement illustrates the incredible way our community vision plans lead to action,” said Pat Rodgers, chair of the Charlotte Center City Partners Board of Directors. “As we kick off the 2040 Center City Vision Plan effort, this public-private partnership is a reminder of the results of our community’s innovative spirit and collective hard work.”

The bridge is estimated to cost $11.5 million and will connect the Rail Trail with planned reinvestments in the Charlotte Convention Center, allowing visitors to more easily access office, retail and hospitality destinations. Design work is expected to begin later this year, with construction expected to begin by the end of 2021.