PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Local leaders are turning some dirt to symbolize the start of something new.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly spoke at Northeast 7th and Flanders Thursday to showcase the future of a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge over I-84.

The bridge will be named for Blumenauer, who is well known for being a longtime advocate for cycling and pedestrian issues.

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“It’s good for the environment, it’s good for our hearts, it’s good for our souls,” Blumenauer said.

The bridge will span over seven lanes of highway traffic and two railroad tracks. It will have a wide pedestrian path and an even wider path for two-way bicycle traffic.

“It’s a really important connection obviously between those two neighborhoods — right now the only way to get across is on 12th,” said Bike Portland publisher Jonathan Muas. “Now we’re going to have a really nice place to walk and bike that I think is going to be really iconic.”

The bridge will be completed in spring 2021.

A rendering of the Earl Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge over I-84, released November 7, 2019 (PBOT)

“[Blumenaur’s] certainly put his time in and done a lot of great work. I think it’s very fitting that we have a Blumenauer Bridge,” Muas said.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is also proposing to add bike lanes along 25 blocks of North Lombard.

Muas sat in on the freight committee meeting at City Hall to see how they’d react to bike lanes on a high-capacity freight route.

“Suffice it to say, there was a little bit of heartburn from the freight committee who’s worried about any loss in capacity,” Muas said. “What’s interesting about this project is that it doesn’t do anything to freight capacity, ODOT has already run the numbers.”

The project is currently being designed and construction is expected from 2021 to 2022.