Bicyclists and pedestrians will get their lane across the Missouri River earlier than expected thanks to millions in federal stimulus money.
The Missouri Department of Transportation allocated $4.5 million in stimulus money for rehab work on the Heart of America Bridge, which will include the new bike/pedestrian lane.
MoDOT believes it will start construction on the bridge by March 2010 and complete it by the end of the year.
Planners at the Mid-America Regional Council, which coordinate local transportation planning, expected construction to start in 2011. MoDOT had committed to building the bike lane by 2012.
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The lane for the first time will give downtown a Missouri River bridge with barriers that separate pedestrians and cyclists from speeding vehicles.
Bicyclists had mounted a vigorous campaign to get MoDOT to put a segregated lane on the new Paseo Bridge, now under construction.
MoDOT resisted those efforts out of concern of putting a bike/ped lane so close to the interstate and the fact that the lane wouldn’t link to a bike/ped friendly area on the north shore of the Missouri River.
However, the new design of the new bridge allows for a bike lane to be added at some point in the future.