The Path to Prominence initiative has made significant progress in the past year, but many questions about the project have surfaced after the groundbreaking of Lehigh’s newest residential complex, Bridge West.
Bridge West construction officially began over winter break, according to Lori Friedman, Lehigh’s director of media relations. However, the construction site has been ready since the summer of 2018, said project manager Melanie Fluck in a prior Brown and White article.
There was underground work to ensure the major portion of utility development would be completed before students arrived back on campus.
“It was best to start when there were fewer students on campus in order to minimize the distraction to academics and residential life,” Friedman said.
However, some of the construction has impacted several transportation services, as Sayre Drive was forced to close for about a week. The Packer Express, a primary means of transportation for students living on the hill, was rerouted to not stop on the hill.
Bob Bruneio, the manager of Lehigh’s transportation services, said his department is working very diligently to get the issues with the bus services resolved.
“We’re trying to be conscious of everyone’s needs,” Bruneio said. “Safety is paramount.”
Friedman said the closing of Sayre Drive is indeed the result of excavation at the Bridge West project site.
“Our primary concern is for the safety of our students and members of the campus community,” Friedman said. “The road will reopen once the construction and engineering teams have determined that it is safe to do so.”
The transportation issues are not the only concern of students. The construction site is only a few feet from the Pi Beta Phi house.
Claire Foley, ’21, a resident of Pi Beta Phi, said the construction is often noisy and disturbs members.
“(The noise) can be heard in every room that faces the construction,” Foley said. “The work starts really early in the morning and even on weekends sometimes. It’s also just ugly to look at.”
Foley said there were instances where workers would smoke cigarettes outside of the actual construction zone on the road next to her house. She said the residents can smell it from their house.
As the community voices concerns around the completion of construction on a prominent area of campus, Bruneio emphasized that the transportation department is putting forth a lot of effort to overcome problems associated with the construction.
“We are doing the very best we can,” Bruneio said. “Our drivers really enjoy working with the Lehigh community. They’re really in tune with everyone’s needs, and they will go above and beyond to help you guys.”