Last year, the Mercury was among the first outlets to report the Portland Bureau of Transportation had a new bridge in mind: A pedestrian-and-bike-only span over I-405 at NW Flanders.

Now, after years of similar proposals, that vision is finally coming to pass. The "Flanders Crossing Active Transportation Bridge" was among projects approved for nearly $3 million in grant funding under the Oregon Department of Transportation's ConnectOregon process, which aims lottery revenue at transportation projects that don't benefit cars.


The bridge idea ranked 21st of more than 75 proposals statewide. The state's handing over $2.87 million for the effort, and Portland's kicking in $3 million of its own. (That money will be drawn from "system development charges," PBOT has said—money that's used to help the transportation system accommodate new users.)

But not everyone's so pleased with the decision to build the bridge, which sits between crossings at NW Everett and NW Glisan that already contain sidewalks and bike lanes—especially at a time when there have been six fatal crashes in the city in roughly the last three weeks.

And not everyone agrees with the criticisms.

PBOT has pitched the bridge as a much-needed amenity, predicting it'll see more than 9,000 users a day in 20 years. It's also called the bridge a possible lifeline for when the Big One hits, since it'll be seismically safe and wide enough for emergency vehicles to cross.

"Right now, there are no crossings like this over I-405," PBOT said in a news release announcing the funding. "All other options for people on foot or bike essentially require crossing freeway onramps. These routes are often congested and do not provide sufficient space for those using active transportation."

Construction might begin in April 2018, the agency says.