Nearly 300 people, including many local officials and more than 50 bicyclists, showed up in Beavercreek on Friday afternoon to celebrate the opening of the long-awaited bike and pedestrian bridge over Interstate 675.
The $3.5 million bridge just west of the North Fairfield Road bridge will provide “a safe, convenient crossing point for non-motorized travel” between Beavercreek, Fairborn and Wright State University, said Beavercreek Mayor Brian Jarvis.
The 467-foot steel beam bridge is part of a 1,850-foot pathway that has been in the works since at least 2005, and was made possible by a collaboration of the two cities, Wright State University, Clark State Community College — all of which kicked in money — as well as the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, which supplied $2.4 million in federal transportation dollars.
State Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield, predicted that the collaboration involved in funding and building the bridge would gain nationwide attention.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this only the beginning of many more such projects throughout the state and throughout the country,” Widener told the crowd.
“This bridge is going to be seen, yes, each and every day by tens of thousands of people traveling 675, but the process that’s gone through here, the funding mechanisms and the strategy, is going to be replicated, I guarantee you, in this state and around the country.”
The Wright State Way bridge connects Center Park Boulevard in Fairborn to Commons Boulevard in Beavercreek. It starts at the Wright Executive Center in Fairborn and ends near Sam’s Club.
Jarvis and others also gave credit to the dogged determination of Roger Brislawn, 85, who was for years the chairman of the city’s bikeway advisory committee, and has worked on the project since 2005.
Brislawn called the bridge a “beautiful structure.”
“It’s a great addition,” Brislawn said, “and a safe crossing of I-675.
“I would like to thank all for the support received during these 10 years. This includes past committee members, their wives and friends, who listened to bridge talk for all this time.”