Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 21st, 2012 at 10:40 am
A Federal Highway Administration grant is allowing the Oregon Department of Transportation to get started on a new path for walking and bicycling in the Columbia River Gorge.
Work began earlier this month on a new, 1.6-mile section of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail between John B. Yeon State Park and Moffett Creek. When complete, ODOT says the trail will allow people on bicycles to travel on "a scenic path" between Troutdale and Cascade Locks without using the shoulder of I-84. I
The new path will also incorporate a picnic and rest area with restored views of Beacon Rock and will connect U.S. Forest Service Trail 400 with the Elowah Falls hiking trail.
The $2.1 million project is part of $19.5 million in FHWA grants awarded to Oregon by the FHWA last August.
The grant came from the FHWA's "Public Lands Highways Discretionary Program" which was established by Congress in 1930 with the intent to, "improve access to and within the Federal lands of the nation."
The program, which has been a part of every transportation bill since, would no longer exist if the House Republicans are able to pass their transportation bill (H.R. 7). The PLHD Program, along with many others like Safe Routes to School, would be eliminated as a way to "consolidate" and focus Highway Trust Fund spending solely to the Interstate Highway System and bridge projects.
This new section of trail will be completed in early fall of 2013.