The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) and the Port of Cascade Locks have been working together for several years to improve pedestrian safety and access at the Bridge of the Gods. The two-lane Bridge serves as a connecting piece of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) between Oregon and Washington. In addition to PCT hikers, the bridge is used by pedestrians and cyclists commuting daily to and from work. The bridge deck with only 22’ width allows for two lanes of mixed used traffic, which includes daily commuters, freight trucks, cyclists and pedestrians. Currently, the Bridge of the Gods is the only bridge that allows for pedestrian traffic along an 86 mile stretch of the Interstate 84 corridor.
The PCTA raised $10,000 to conduct a study in partnership with the Port of Cascade Locks, City of Stevenson and Friends of the Columbia Gorge on improving safety and trail experience on the Bridge of the Gods. The published study recommended an overhang structure attached to the existing bridge for pedestrian and cyclist use. With the increasing vehicular and pedestrian traffic due to increased popularity of the trail and increased tourism in the Gorge, the Port of Cascade Locks Commission agreed to move forward with the recommendation to pursue an attached walkway as a solution to safe pedestrian and cyclist travel.
In 2018, the Port of Cascade Locks successfully submitted applications to Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) in Oregon and Washington for the design and engineering of the proposed structure. The project was awarded. However, the Port of Cascade Locks decided to withdraw both applications due to federal regulations over revenue generated by a tolling facility.
Given the fact that this bike/ped crossing is not associated with the tolling facility (bike/ped/equi access is not tolled), is for the safety and recreational benefit of primarily non-local visitors; the funding for this project should be exempted from the regulation. Port’s primary operation is focused on economic development of the region, including job creation, and industry and workforce support. The Port supports this project because of its effect on increased safety for the pedestrians, drivers, expanded recreational opportunities, and supported tourism.
We are asking the legislature for a restricted waiver of Federal Regulation, Title 23, in effort to use existing Federal funds for the completion of this project while protecting the interests of the community and job creation.
You can help this project by contacting your legislator and voicing your concerns over the safety risks and support for this narrow exemption. Follow this link to contact your senator!