Visitors to Riverbanks Zoo will have an easier and safer way to get from the parking lot into the attraction and back to their cars starting next week.
A $3.1 million, 115-foot elevated bridge is ready to be unveiled at the state’s busiest gated attraction, zoo officials announced Wednesday.
The bridge marks the last part of a $40 million expansion that includes a new zoo entrance with improved guest facilities, more parking, a new grizzly bear and river otter habitats, sea lion landing, a three-acre children’s garden and Waterfall Junction.
The bridge crosses over CSX railroad lines that runs along much of the zoo property, including near its main entrance. The walkway is Riverbanks Zoo and Garden’s only construction project funded by Richland County’s transportation penny sales tax, zoo director Satch Krantz said.
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Ribbon cutting for the CSX Pedestrian Bridge is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday. The zoo entrance is on the Saluda River, at 500 Wildlife Parkway, off I-126 at the Greystone Boulevard exit.
“The new zoo entry complex is a vast improvement over the old entrance,” Krantz said. “It provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere to our one million annual visitors.”
Work on the bridge began in February and required removing trees and vegetation along the rail line.
A north elevator tower and stairs were built within the zoo’s recently added 500-car parking lot on the north side of the tracks. The south elevator tower and stairs are located beside the zoo’s new entrance.