Grants Pass proposing new multi-million dollar pedestrian bridge

Pedestrian walking along narrow sidewalk of existing historic bridge in Grants Pass. (John Stoeckl/News 10)

Getting across the Rogue River on foot or on a bike is challenging for people traveling through Grants Pass.

“We identified a lack of north-south connectivity for bicyclists and pedestrians.” Wade Elliott, Grants Pass Assistant Director for Public Works said. “The impediment is the two bridges that cross at 6th and 7th street.”

Currently, people crossing the bridges are left with narrow sidewalks dangerously close to the passing vehicle traffic. Elliott said they typically aren’t real safe or comfortable to cross the bridge on bikes and often times are forced into the busy traffic and act like a vehicle.

“We were looking at how to get people, especially bicyclists across the river.” Elliot said. “One logical conclusion we jumped to is to put in another pedestrian bridge.” The existing pedestrian bridge is several miles further west down stream accessible at the Reinhart Volunteer Park, but doesn't easily accommodate bicyclists heading to and from town center.

Elliott said the new pedestrian bridge would run from the dead end of 5th Street, across the river to the end-point of Riverside Park, which would reconnect them with 6th Street access. Elliot said they plan to do feasibility studies to tighten the budget in which alternative solutions could occur.

The estimated $7 million-dollar project would be primarily funded through a congestion mitigation and air quality grant, which is a federal fund grant that helps to reduce air pollutants by reducing people that are in cars by encouraging bicycle modes of transportation.

“These projects are going to get applied through competitive grant process.” Elliot said. “Through the Middle-Row Metropolitan Planning Organization.”

Elliot said it’s a 10% match funding process that would be 90% funded by the grant. If awarded, the bridge would likely begin construction around 2024.

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