Pedestrian Bridge Gets Funding | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Pedestrian Bridge Gets Funding

A long-term priority for cyclists and pedestrians gets cash from state and federal sources

The City of Bend received over $19 million in grant funding for the Hawthorne Bridge from a U.S. Department of Transportation grant and $5 million from the state legislature through House Bill 5030, which should cover the full cost of the planned bridge. The City first explored pedestrian overcrossings over Highway 97 in 2016 as part of a broader pedestrian and cycling project to improve connections between east and west Bend. Both Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced the funding in a joint press release after lobbying the USDOT to pursue projects in Bend, Hood River and in Jackson County.

click to enlarge Pedestrian Bridge Gets Funding
Courtesy of the City of Bend

"This bridge is a critical community connection that will increase transportation safety and unlock the potential for more housing and economic development in our city's core. I could not be more grateful for the support Senator Merkley has shown for this project. This is a huge win for Bend," Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler said in a press release.

The bridge will connect Northeast and Northwest Hawthorne Avenue between downtown and the Bend Central District and Core Area. In 2022 the City estimated it'd cost about $23 million to design and build the bridge. Design was supposed to begin this year, but with the influx of cash, the Oregon Department of Transportation is taking over administration of the project. City Community Relations Manager Jacob Larsen said the project could begin by late 2024. The Bend Central District Business Association, Bend Chamber of Commerce and Central Oregon Landwatch supported the project.

"The Hawthorne Overcrossing is so much more than a transportation project," Katy Brooks, CEO of the Bend Chamber of Commerce, said in a press release. "It is a significant step forward for economic development in the Central District and downtown and joins two sides of the Parkway that invites people to regularly travel between east and west whether that's by walking, riding, or rolling. It will be a centerpiece in Bend."

The City also identified improvements to underpasses on Franklin and Greenwood avenues as priorities to improve east-west pedestrian and bike travel. Since 2021, one of the City Council's goals is to improve multimodal transportation systems, with an emphasis on protected north-south and east-west corridors.

About The Author

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...
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