Pedestrians, riders can now use B½ Road overpass

John Hodge, left, with the Mesa County Bicycling Alliance and David Lehmann, vice-chair of Grand Junction’s Urban Trails Committee, ride their bicycles across the new overpass trail alongside the B 1/2 Road bridge over U.S. Higway 50 following a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. Hodge called the trail a community connection trail because it provides a safer route for pedestrians, cyclists and the physically challenged to cross from the area south of the highway to the stores and community north of the highway.

It was an under-utilized bridge that now has a new purpose, or at least a partially new one.

While the B 1/2 Road overpass at U.S. Highway 50 still is used for traffic, thanks to a federal grant and help from state and local groups the overpass has been realigned to handle pedestrians and bicyclists, too.

Greg Lanning, director of the Grand Junction Public Works Department, likened it to an old-style video game.

“When you think about how you got across the highway in the old days, it was kind of like Frogger — not fun and not very safe,” Lanning said. “To move a lane over and then use the remaining lane for a pedestrian/bicycle facility is absolutely incredible. Now we have a great, safe path from the (Dos Rios) grade school all the way out to 29 Road.”

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating completion of the project — it’s actually been available for use since the spring — Lanning and other officials said it goes a long way toward improving public safety, and getting people, bicyclists and autos off the roads.

Grand Junction Mayor Rick Taggart said it goes well with all the other trails and sidewalk projects that have been done citywide.

“It is now possible to ride your bike or walk on a paved surface all the way from Dos Rios Elementary, which is across Highway 50, to Lincoln-Orchard Mesa Elementary, which is down B 1/2 Road to the east, and to the Mesa County library branch safely,” Taggart said. “It was this great community dialogue combined with some very bright people that brought the concept of this pedestrian overpass to be.”

Taggart said the $1.3 million it took to complete the project came from a Transportation Alternatives Program grant from the federal government, applied for through the Colorado Department of Transportation. The city also put some money into the project from funds aimed at installing sidewalks around the city’s schools.

Taggart said it only took three years to get the project approved and completed, an impressive timeline given the time it normally takes to do something like this.


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