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Monday, July 16, 2012

South Waterfront Gets Sorely-Needed Pedestrian Bridge

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Since the I-5 freeway went in, SW Portland's Lair Hill neighborhood has been cut off from the riverfront, including South Waterfront, the tram, and streetcar. It's been an agonizing situation for the past 50 years: The neighborhood is so close to the Willamette, but the only way to get to the river without a car was to scurry across several busy, dangerous streets.

But this weekend, Mayor Sam Adams cut the ribbon on a long-awaited bike-ped bridge over the freeway. The 700-foot Gibbs Street Bridge was supposed to be built along with the tram, but cost overruns on that project delayed its construction. As of Saturday, it's officially, finally open. This picture Jonathan Maus snapped from the tram during the bridge's final days of construction makes obvious what a big purpose the small bridge serves:

The bridge's final tab came to $13 million, with the vast majority—$10 million—covered by federal funds. The rest of the budget came from the Portland Development Commission (South Waterfront is an urban renewal area) and Portland's citywide system development charges.

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