Three pedestrian-biker bridges close gaps from waterfront to Boring

The three cyclist and pedestrian bridges that fill what were significant gaps in the Springwater Corridor in Southeast Portland and Milwaukie are complete. And the people who helped make them happen will celebrate Thursday morning.

The three bridges, which had been under construction since spring of last year, now traverse Johnson Creek, Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard and a Union Pacific rail line.

The completion of the bridges brings the 17-mile Springwater Corridor one step closer to completion - closing the gap between Portland's Eastbank Esplanade on the Willamette River to Boring without bicyclists and pedestrians having to travel on any city streets.

The completion of the bridges 'will make a difference - because it makes the whole trail useful,' said Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder, who helped guide the project to completion.

The construction of the three bridges cost about $4.7 million. Ninety percent of the total was covered by federal transportation funds. Portland Parks and Recreation, the city of Milwaukie and TriMet paid the remaining 10 percent.

Construction of the Springwater Corridor - most of which is paved and about 10 feet wide - has been ongoing for almost 20 years. It is built along a former rail line first used in the early 1900s for logging operations.

Completion of the bridges means trail users will be able to travel from Boring to the edge of Southeast Portland entirely on the trail. The final unfinished section of the trail is about one and a half miles through parts of Sellwood. About $2 million in federal transportation funds also will be used to finish that section; officials hope construction can start next year.

'The coolest part is when we're totally done, you can ride from downtown Portland to Gresham, and further, without going on the streets,' Burkholder said.

Thursday's dedication of the three bridges will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the corridor's trail head, Southeast 19th Avenue and Ochoco Street.

Among those attending will be Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.; Milwaukie Mayor Jim Bernard; and Metro Councilors Brian Newman and Burkholder.

'Everybody wants to jump up there,' Burkholder said. 'It's a great day.'

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