University of Miami plans to build new pedestrian bridge over campus lake

A view from the UM’s new student activities center, which overlooks Lake Osceola.
A view from the UM’s new student activities center, which overlooks Lake Osceola. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

The University of Miami wants to build a new, $1 million pedestrian bridge over the lake at the center of its Coral Gables campus.

The 210-foot-long bridge over Lake Osceola would connect parking and housing areas to a performance stage in the university’s renovated student center complex.

To build it, UM must first get approval from Miami-Dade County’s environmental regulators, who have recommended that county commissioners sign off on a permit next week. An environmental permit is required for construction over most waterways.

The bridge, from near Eaton Residential College to the lakeside patio stage, is part of the university’s mobility plan to promote more walking, spokeswoman Margot Winick said.

“It’s part of making the campus more accessible, and it’s a healthier way to enjoy getting around the campus,” she said.

It’s unclear when construction could begin if commissioners approve the permit. UM applied for the environmental permit in November, listing the bridge’s estimated cost at $1 million. The application included a conceptual drawing dated from last April by Coconut Grove-based architectural firm Arquitectonica.

Regulators say the bridge would not create any environmental problems. Though the lake has been a temporary home in the past to manatees and endangered crocodiles, the body of water is not considered an “essential” manatee habitat and doesn’t have any environmentally significant vegetation, according to the county’s Division of Environmental Resources Management. The university will be required to maintain water clarity within acceptable levels during construction.

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