Olympia - Congressman Brian Baird and state and local officials will celebrate construction of the new pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Martin Way at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 31. Festivities will take place on the north side of Martin Way at the intersection of the Chehalis-Western Trail and the new bridge.
The Martin Way bridge, expected to be open to the public by mid-April, is the second of three bridges in the Bridging the Gap project that will eventually link the Chehalis-Western Trail with the Woodland Trail and I-5 Bike Trail. The first bridge, spanning I-5, was opened for foot and bike travel in February, 2007. Construction of the third bridge, spanning Pacific Avenue, is expected to begin in early 2011. Once completed, the Bridging the Gap project will link a 22-mile north/south corridor with the 14-mile Yelm-to-Tenino Trail and the 12-mile Woodland Trail.
Congressman Baird, a strong advocate for the regional trail system, secured $3.5 million for the Bridging the Gap project in 2005. He will be joined by Thurston County commissioners and State Senator Karen Fraser. Also participating in the ceremony will be Olympia Mayor Doug Mah, Lacey Mayor Tom Nelson and Deputy Mayor Virgil Clarkson, and Tumwater Mayor Pete Kmet, chairman of the Thurston Regional Planning Council
"This project is vitally important on many levels," says Thurston County Commissioner Romero. "It encourages a safe, healthy, walkable community, while encouraging other forms of non-motorized transportation. The trail system is also great for the environment because more people are using it to commute to work, thereby reducing our carbon footprint."
Bridging the Gap partners include the Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC), Lacey, Olympia, Thurston County, the Washington State Department of Transportation, and private property owners adjacent to the project. Community supporters include the Woodland Trail Greenway Association, the Capitol Bicycling Club, the Wanderers and Capitol Volkssport and many other trail enthusiasts.
The dedication ceremony is free and open to the public. Details are available by calling TRPC at (360) 956-7575.