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Delta bridge project receives state grant.

Byline: Edward Russo The Register-Guard

A $1 million state grant has paved the way for Eugene engineers to proceed with designing a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Delta Highway.

The 1,500-foot bridge and approach paths will let nature lovers, joggers and bicyclists get from the neighborhoods east of Delta Highway to Delta Ponds, a 150-acre natural area interspersed with ponds bisected by the highway.

Pedestrians and bicyclists traveling from the east currently must use busy automobile overpasses at Valley River Drive and Goodpasture Island Road to get over Delta Highway and reach Delta Ponds.

"This will be a wonderful way for people to better experience the Delta Ponds, which is a jewel in our natural resources crown," said Michelle Cahill, Eugene's principal civil engineer.

The bridge and its west approach path also will give people access to the Willamette River trails, west of Goodpasture Island Road.

Construction could start in 2009, Cahill said, and take two or more years to complete.

The state's Transportation Enhancement Advisory Committee picked the Eugene project and 13 others from among 75 applications. Altogether, the 14 projects will receive $11.3 million between 2009 and 2011. The money, distributed by the Oregon Transportation Commission, comes from the federal gas tax.

Eugene already has received a $2.9 million federal pledge for the bridge. The $1 million distributed by the state gives a total of $3.9 million, most of the estimated $4.8 million cost.

"It's significant," Cahill said of the new grant. "This definitely gives us the money to get some design work started."

City officials will seek federal funding for the remaining $900,000, she said.

If federal money is unavailable, the city's draft capital improvement plan for 2012 shows the balance coming from impact fees the city charges for new development, Cahill said.

The bridge has yet to be designed, but it may be a cable suspension system similar to the DeFazio Bike Bridge across the Willamette River, she said.
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Title Annotation:Government; The $1 million award clears the way for the pedestrian overpass to be designed
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 2, 2007
Words:328
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