The walkway above South High Street will be removed as part of a new Municipal Courthouse project being discussed for Dorrian Commons at South High and Mound streets.

Franklin County will permanently close next month the longtime pedestrian bridge over South High Street that links a parking garage to the Municipal Court building in Downtown Columbus.

Access to the enclosed walkway will end Feb. 17, meaning visitors will no longer be able to walk from the ninth floor of the garage at 34 E. Fulton St. to the sixth floor of the courthouse at 375 S. High St. Signs were being posted and messages distributed about the closing Friday.

The decision was announced a day after The Dispatch reported that the Franklin County commissioners and the city of Columbus are planning a new Municipal Court building on the site of Dorrian Commons, a county-owned park at the southeast corner of South High and Mound streets.

The project will include the removal of the existing James A. Karnes Building just south of the park.

The 315-foot pedestrian bridge, built in the late 1970s, provides courthouse access to employees and visitors, including judges who park in the attached garage. Tyler Lowry, spokesman for the county commissioners, said judges will be provided parking in a different location.

Lowry said there were discussions in recent months about required maintenance and improvements to the bridge, with costs estimated at more than $925,000.

"The pedestrian bridge has served the county governmental complex well, but it is more than 40 years old now, and requires significant ongoing maintenance," county Administrator Kenneth Wilson said in a released statement.

"Additionally, we expect that it would have to be torn down in a few years to make way for a new Municipal Courthouse, and it would not be wise to continue to invest in infrastructure that we know will be coming down so soon."