The 2nd Avenue Overpass under construction by Coleman Coliseum will open by the summer of 2021, a University of Alabama administrator announced in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Tim Leopard, UA's Junior Associate Vice President of Campus Development, said the construction of the massive pedestrian, auto and bicycle bridge being built over the railroad tracks behind the athletic venue is well underway.

"This is a very important project for the University," Leopard said. "It enhances connectivity to the University, and provides a gateway to the University."

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Leopard said the overpass is designed to accommodate the more than 70,000 vehicles that cross the train tracks each day and help with traffic flow while also providing easier access to DCH in the event of a protracted road closure.

(Noah Lueker, Townsquare Media)

The finished bridge will be nearly one mile long, with about two miles of access points spanning from Queen City Avenue to McFarland Boulevard. The total project cost rounds out to nearly $21 million, $6 million of which was provided by federal Department of Transportation funds.

Leopard guessed that the project would inject roughly $40 million into the Tuscaloosa economy.

He also stressed how important it is to provide a safe environment around the railroad tracks, where students have been hurt or killed by trains in the past.

Leopard estimated the overpass will accommodate over 100,000 vehicles per day shortly after it opens and said the posted speed limit on the overpass will be somewhere between 30 and 35 miles per hour. He said the University will be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the overpass after its completion.

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