The UWEC footbridge is not intended for motor vehicles

A driver unsuccessfully attempted to cross the UWEC walking bridge last Tuesday

More stories from Faith Hultman


Photo by Faith Hultman

The UW-Eau Claire footbridge warns, again, motor vehicles, yet a vehicle operator attempted to cross Tuesday Feb. 16.

Faulty GPS guidance led a vehicle operator on an attempt to cross the UW-Eau Claire footbridge last Tuesday night; the excursion ended with a citation from University Police.

The driver was trying to reach the UW-Eau Claire residence halls, Lt. Jay Dobson, a University Police officer, said.
Even though the footbridge has a sign saying “No motor vehicles” directly in front of it, incidents similar to this have happened before, Dobson said.

“Fortunately it’s a rare occurrence,” Dobson said. “Usually what you’ll see is a moped trying to get across.”
These occurrences usually happen at night when class is out, he said.

“It seems to me that alcohol is usually involved, and it’s the same in this particular case,” Dobson said.

The driver had been drinking, but did not meet the threshold for driving under the influence and was of legal drinking age, Dobson said. The driver was given a citation for driving on a sidewalk.

Dobson said the driver claimed his GPS had guided him to cross the pedestrian bridge because the Water Street bridge is currently under construction.

“Even though his GPS supposedly told him to go that way, he knew it wasn’t a road,” Dobson said.

Tori King, a junior at Eau Claire, said it was “hilarious,” and initially thought the article she had read on WEAU News discussing the confused driver was a satirical piece from The Onion.

“What has to be going through your mind for that to be a good idea,” King said.

Junior Tessa Schiller heard about the incident on Facebook and also found it humorous.

“It’s kind of a smart idea I guess, except I don’t know where he was going,” Schiller said. “It might’ve been trouble for the police, but it’s kind of entertaining.”

First-year student Amanda Herold initially wondered if the driver was drunk.

“The bridge is meant to hold people walking, and not a car,” Herold said. “Don’t take shortcuts.”

On Feb. 16, University Police tweeted a picture of a car stopped on the campus footbridge captioned, “Reminder: UWEC footbridge is not an alternate route for cars to use during Water St. Bridge construction.” The tweet has since received over 250 retweets.