New path, dedication of bridge to mark UT’s Celebrate Our River Week

September 7, 2016 | Events, UToday, Arts and Letters
By Vicki L. Kroll

The beauty of the Ottawa River is being showcased by two new projects that officially will be recognized during UT’s Celebrate Our River Week, Sept. 11-17.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members can learn about a new walking path that will be constructed along the waterway that cuts through Main Campus. Hear about the gravel trail, which will extend from the Law Center to Secor Road, Tuesday, Sept. 13, at noon on the south side of the Law Center.

The David Leigh Root Bridge on Stadium Drive opened last month.

The David Leigh Root Bridge on Stadium Drive opened last month.

“This trail, which was paid for by the Student Green Fund, will be a great way to experience the Ottawa River,” said Dr. Patrick Lawrence, chair of the UT President’s Commission on the River and associate dean of social and behavioral sciences in the College of Arts and Letters.

“You never know what you might see. We have more than 40 fish species in the river. And this summer we’ve also reported muskrats, deer, turtles, frogs, blue heron, mallard ducks and Canada geese,” Lawrence, professor of geography and planning, added. 

Another great vantage point to look for wildlife and observe the river is the new David Leigh Root Bridge on Stadium Drive. The span will be dedicated during a ceremony Thursday, Sept. 15, at 3 p.m.

President Sharon L. Gaber and Lawrence are scheduled to speak during the event. David Leigh Root, the local businessman the bridge is named after, also will be at the ceremony.

The new span features UT’s signature lannon stone as well as six-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides of the road.

“The bridge now provides ample walking room, a safety measure for all pedestrians,” Jason Toth, associate vice president for facilities and construction, said. “In addition, the new bridge incorporates aesthetics that blend with the Gothic architecture on campus.”

“Two new signs that identify the Ottawa River have been added to the bridge,” Lawrence said. “We all worked together to make sure the new structure complemented our campus and the river.”

Following routine inspection, it was determined the bridge, built in 1961, needed to be replaced due to age and condition, according to Toth. The project started in March, and the new bridge opened Aug. 5.

Other events for Celebrate Our River Week are:

clean-your-streams-logo• Clean Your Streams — UT is participating in the 20th annual event Saturday, Sept. 17, from 8:30 a.m. to noon by hosting two locations — by the Law Center on Main Campus and by the Collier Building on Health Science Campus. University community members may volunteer to help pick up along the Ottawa River and Swan Creek. Participants must register at by midnight Sunday, Sept. 11.

• Fifth Annual Student River Photography Contest — Entries are due by noon Wednesday, Sept. 14. Winners will be announced Friday, Sept. 16, at noon in the Student River Plaza, located behind the Student Union and Carlson Library. Click here for details.

• Informational posters and videos will be on display in Carlson Library during the week.

Celebrate Our River Week is presented by the UT President’s Commission on the River.

“We’re lucky to have the Ottawa River running through our campus,” Lawrence said. “We’ve worked hard to improve the aquatic and forest habitat along the 3,700 feet through Main Campus.”

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