Last week the Federal Highway Administration announced $19.5 million in transportation project grants throughout Oregon. One of the funded projects is 1.6 miles of paved path (for biking and walking only) along I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge.
Since the Gorge is such a popular place to ride (and I bet even Bill Walton doesn’t like riding on the shoulder of I-84) I figured the project was worth a closer look.
The new path is part of a $50 million project to renovate the Historic Columbia River Highway. Back in 2007, I joined Jeanette Kloos from the Friends of the History Columbia River Highway for a glimpse into a section of the project further east. Thanks to Jeanette and the Friends group, just 11 of the 72 mile length of the Historic Highway remain.
This latest FHWA grant will pump $2.1 million into a segment of the path from John B. Yeon State Park at Warrendale to an already restored section of the Columbia River Highway State Trail at the Moffett Creek Bridge.
The big news for people riding bikes is that they’ll no longer have to use the shoulder of I-84 between Troutdale and Cascade Locks. In fact, once this trail is complete, you’ll be able to ride 34 miles between Troutdale and Cascade Locks completely on a mix of the Historic Highway and the State Trail. This new path will also complement the existing US Forest Service Trail 400 and will connect users with a hiking trailhead at Elowah Falls.
Construction on this path segment is set to begin February 2012 and should be done by summer 2013. For more information, check out the Oregon Department of Transportation project page.