Fourth renovated pedestrian bridge over Strip set to reopen Thursday

Updated December 20, 2017 - 7:15 pm

Tempered glass panes, aluminum panels and lighted handrails line the freshened-up pedestrian bridges soaring 17 feet above the southern end of the Strip, just in time for the holiday season.

The fourth and final span to get a face-lift is scheduled to reopen by 3 p.m. Thursday, linking the Excalibur and New York-New York, the Nevada Department of Transportation said.

The renovation was completed six months ahead of schedule to specifically open in time for New Year’s Eve, when a three-mile stretch of the Strip will close to traffic and make room for revelers ringing in 2018.

However, the expedited work increased construction costs by $235,000, NDOT officials said.

The improvements, now pegged at more than $34 million, is primarily funded by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Clark County will assume responsibility for the bridges when the project wraps up.

Gone are the clunky chain-link fences that made the area seem more like a prison yard than a vacation destination. NDOT officials said the 165-foot-long spans were designed to finally match the newer, sleek pedestrian bridges farther north on the Strip.

Final touches will continue through March on new air-conditioning units and other electronic equipment added to the elevators, NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said.

The renovation project at Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard was supposed to start in April 2016, but NDOT officials were concerned that any bridge closures would interfere with the opening of the nearby T-Mobile Arena that same month.

Construction finally began in June 2016, allowing crews to work on one bridge at a time in order to avoid disruptions during major events, shows and conventions.

The bridge linking Excalibur and Tropicana was completed first, in December 2016, followed by the span connecting Tropicana and MGM Grand in June. The bridge between New York-New York and MGM Grand reopened in September.

The 23-year-old pedestrian bridges aren’t just the oldest in Southern Nevada, but also one of the state’s busiest crossings, with roughly 130,000 pedestrians daily.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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