Our Opinion: Spanning an obstacle to pedestrians and bicyclists

Progressive Jefferson City residents will be able to scratch a big item off their wish list on Friday.

The dream of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge spanning the Missouri River will become a reality when a ribbon is cut at 10:30 a.m.

After the ceremony, walkers and bicyclists may cross the span connecting Cole and Callaway counties.

Friday morning’s ribbon-cutting hosted by the Missouri Department of Transportation will take place at Carl Noren boating and fishing access on the river’s north side.

A second ribbon-cutting will be hosted by the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on the pedestrian/bicycle bridge.

The span is eight-feet wide and designed to be ADA accessible, with two scenic lookout points.

Connecting the cross-state Katy Trail in Callaway County to a trailhead at the Lewis and Clark Monument in the Capitol Complex provides a dual purpose.

It offers Jefferson Citians a bridge crossing to access the Katy Trail and allows trail users to visit Jefferson City historic sites, restaurants, hotels and other amenities.

The project was not inexpensive. The total cost of $6.7 million was paid using $5.6 million in federal enhancement funds and a combined $1.6 million from Jefferson City, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri State Parks Foundation.

Although Jefferson City is a riverfront community, we have harbored a tendency to consider the riverfront inaccessible and the river as an obstacle.

The new span eliminates that obstacle by providing a safe, convenient bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists.

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