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CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) —  It’s taken more than a decade but Friday, Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and University of Miami officials took part in the official dedication of the UM pedestrian bridge.

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The steel overpass ensures pedestrians safe passage over busy and deadly U.S. 1 at Mariposa Court.

“We’ve had a number of students that were either injured and tragically some killed and that really spurred the development and the need for this pedestrian cross bridge,” said Gimenez.

(CBS4)

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The covered bridge links the east side of the highway at the University Centre strip mall to the Metrorail’s University Center station.

Since 1989, three students have died and several others have been critically hurt while crossing U.S. 1.

UM students began lobbying for the pedestrian bridge when freshman Ashley Kelly was struck and killed by a car in 2005. The day after her death, the Student Government Senate passed the Ashley Kelly Resolution calling for construction of a bridge at the intersection.

Vice President of Students Affairs at UM Pat Whitley says the bridge marks a new day for Coral Gables, UM students and faculty who no longer are forced to beat the clock to make it to the other side of the road safely.

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“It says safety and it says a message that we care enough about our community,” Whitley said.