Residents Question $1 Million Spent on Bridge Bike Path
JEFFERSON CITY - Crews worked Wednesday on the fencing and ramp leading up to the Missouri River Bridge for The Pat Jones Bicycle Pedestrian Walkway. It cost Jefferson City $955,000. The city is one of three entities other than MoDOT helping pay for the pathway. The other two entities are the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which is paying $175,000, and the Missouri State Parks Foundation which is paying $270,000. The expense to the city has made some wonder whether this was the right time to build the project.
"I think we've got a lot of people that are really stressed out right now," Jefferson City resident Charles Gaskin said. "We've got a lot of homeless, a lot of people losing their homes because of foreclosures. I think we need to take care of our own first."
The city is excited the path can bring bike travelers from the Katy Trail into Jefferson City. Parks and Recreation Director Bill Lockwood said it would have been hard to predict when the best time to build it would have been.
"Well there are always other priorities," Lockwood said. "If we waited for exactly the right time to do every trail or park project, we would have no trails, and we would have no parks in our city."
MoDOT said bikers have waited a long time for a connection into the city.
"We have had public meetings and several emails from the bike federation as well as other people that are huge supporters of this," Transportation Manager Jason Vanderfeltz said. "Now that the connection is made, it's more of a, 'If you build it, they will come.'"
MoDOT said the construction of the pathway is on schedule. The pathway should be completed April 1, while the pathway should open April 8.