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VIDEO: New pedestrian bridge in Pulaski County dedicated

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published July 8, 2011 at 12:36 p.m. Updated July 8, 2011 at 1:58 p.m.

bicyclists-and-pedestrians-try-out-the-new-two-rivers-park-bridge-shortly-after-a-dedication-ceremony-friday

Bicyclists and pedestrians try out the new Two Rivers Park Bridge shortly after a dedication ceremony Friday.

New pedestrian bridge dedicated

Two Rivers Park Bridge runs across Little Maumelle River

— U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood joined scores of local officials and bicyclists Friday at a dedication ceremony for the $5.3 million Two Rivers Park bridge.

The pedestrian and bicycle span, which runs across the Little Maumelle River west of the Interstate 430 bridge, connects River Mountain Park and Two Rivers Park.

Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines said the bridge helps complete former Little Rock parks and recreation Julius Breckling's vision to create a chain of parks along the river between downtown Little Rock and Pinnacle Mountain.

"This trail of parks is witness to the fact that when people work together, dreams come true," Villines said.

The bridge was scheduled to stay open for just two hours after the dedication ceremony so the crowd of more than 250 could get a chance to traverse the span. It will open for good on July 23.

LaHood said he and his wife are cycling enthusiasts who usually ride once a weekend in the Little Rock area. He rode across the bridge Friday in a golf cart with Villines and other local officials.

"Thank you for what you're doing," LaHood told the crowd. "(You are) providing people an opportunity to exercise, to experience the great outdoors, to experience this great part of the country. This is a great project led by so many leaders."

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 total comments

RBBrittain says... July 8, 2011 at 1:30 p.m.

From the article *and* what I've seen of the bridge from I-430, it really wasn't ready to open; the River Mountain end doesn't have a paved path or landscaping yet. Why have the dedication today instead of on the 23rd? Was it really THAT necessary to have the Secretary of Transportation on hand to dedicate a pedestrian & bicycle bridge? If so, why couldn't he have come on the 23rd?

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JIMBOB47 says... July 8, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.

And I don't care what the source of the FUNDS, this is a waste of ANYONE's money. If we could just get our priorities corrected and spend money where it needs to be spent, our economy and society would certainly take a turn for the better. $5.3 million for a bridge? How many books would that buy for schools? How many homeless would that feed? How many potholes could be fixed? The list is long of those items that certainly are more important than a pedestrian and bicycle 'bridge to nowhere'. I don't disagree with supporting a healthly, exercising lifestyle, but it doesn't take 5.3 million taxpayer dollars to do it. And by the way, don't buy into that old excuse of ".. it is US government funds..". Where do you think that money comes from?

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Pscyclepath says... July 8, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.

Ray LaHood is probably one of the best friends in government that American cyclists have today. That's one big reason to take advantage of today's opportunity to have the Secretary here for the opening.

It's not a "bridge to nowhere." That bridge connects biking and walking trails that lead from the Mississippi River all the way out into the Indian Territories or whatever it is that they call Oklahoma these days. It's just not very amenable for cars, is all.

I don't ride the skinny-tired carbon fibre road bike much any more, but my 50-pound city bike handled the gravel (and the bridge) just fine.

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Jfish says... July 8, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.

Not a waste Jimbo, particularly if you saw the obesity report on America yesterday.

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turfclan says... July 8, 2011 at 4 p.m.

Little Rock and the River Trail just took one giant step forward with the Two Rivers Bridge completion. In my humble opinion, this is a great use of tax dollars. One that is tangible and will serve my kids and grandkids for a long time. Great communities aren't just made up of police and fire services or roads; they're made up of parks, trails and outdoor spaces that it's citizens can enjoy. These are the things that make a city more attractive to growing businesses and a more civilized place in which to live and raise a family.

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telmewhy says... July 8, 2011 at 4:07 p.m.

I think 5 mil could have hired a government chief to prepare free nutritional meals to the public! This would help with both obesity and we could save money on food stamp program! No but seriously, if they wanted to build a functional bridge they could have built a traffic alleviation bridge for in & out of the city! Or they could have used that money to have cleaned out all the old buildings downtown and cleaned out the trash with it! We have an opportunity to bring in tourist dollars to promote this city to businesses and bring us to a higher level and be competition with other cities...but we'd rather have a cute bridge.

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LevitiCuss says... July 8, 2011 at 7:10 p.m.

Recreational infrastructure attracts business. NLR is already ahead of LR. All the Burns Park naysayers pretty much shut up when it was revealed how much money all those soccer fields bring to the area. All of your cities with high livability ratings have extensive bike path systems, good mass transit, and pedestrian-friendly city planning. I ride the downtown loop regularly when in town and can't wait to check this bridge out my next trip out.

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malice06220956 says... July 8, 2011 at 10:37 p.m.

Projects like this always draw criticism that the money could have been better used to better help the poor - it will - in the long run. The cycling tourists who come to Little Rock will spend money and in so doing will add greatly to local tax revenues - in an era when the word "investment" is a code word for throwing money away - this is a true investment in the development of Central Arkansas.

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Turkey84 says... July 25, 2011 at 12:59 p.m.

I think this was a great idea. This links so many trails together across the state! Projects like this one bring business in from all over and help out in many indirect ways that most people don't think about.

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