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Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Demolition of a bridge at Brigham Young University takes place, Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
We are working very quickly and dilligently to have this finished by fall. —BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins

PROVO — East Campus Drive, the main road bisecting the east end of BYU's campus, closed permanently on May 4, beginning the first phase of a campus redesign intended to open more green space and make campus more pedestrian friendly.

On Tuesday, construction crews demolished in a matter of hours the pedestrian bridge that had spanned East Campus Drive between the J. Reuben Clark Law building and the Wilkinson Center since the mid-1970s. The road will be replaced with a pedestrian plaza and drop-off zone with a canopy and benches.

The closure and demolition marked the beginning of phase one of the campus unification project that will redesign Campus Drive over the next three years. This initial phase, which will replace a segment of East Campus Drive with a roundabout and pedestrian drop-off area, should be complete by Aug. 15, according to university spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.

"We are working very quickly and dilligently to have this finished by fall," Jenkins said.

The first phase also involves the construction of a pedestrian plaza, which will connect the law school to the Wilkinson Center in place of the 40-year-old bridge and the crosswalk below it. The throughway East Campus Drive provided will remain closed when construction is completed; access across campus via Heritage Drive and North Campus Drive will remain intact until the redesign is complete in 2015.

Additionally, several popular bus routes, including the 822, 830, 831 and the 832, will no longer service the Wilkinson Center after the completion of the first phase. New routes will move these buses to 900 North.

The second and third phases of the project will bring similar changes to Campus Drive, with the addition of roundabouts and pedestrian drop-off areas at the Hinckley Center and the administration building. Construction on phase two will take place during the summer of 2014. Phase three is scheduled for 2015.

Videos of the bridge demolition are available on YouTube here and here. BYU also posted maps showing the scope of the redesign on a blog created in January.

For more information about the project, go to campusdrive.byu.edu.