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Pedestrians get bridge to future

A new pedestrian bridge was installed overnight Thursday near Vineyard Lane. The $800,000 bridge was paid for by Vineyard Lane developers Bill Carruthers and Andrew Lonseth and will be connected to Cave Avenue via a new path.  - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
A new pedestrian bridge was installed overnight Thursday near Vineyard Lane. The $800,000 bridge was paid for by Vineyard Lane developers Bill Carruthers and Andrew Lonseth and will be connected to Cave Avenue via a new path.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

A new span next to the highway will link the ferry district with High School Rd.

At Vineyard Lane on Thursday night, sleep was foregone by many.

It could have been due to the occasional clatter coming from nearby State Route 305, where two 300-ton cranes were nestling into place a new pedestrian bridge.

Or it could have been due to excitement over the bridge’s arrival, which for Vineyard Lane residents and walkers in general means a new and vital connection to downtown Winslow.

Either way, it was a long night – as evidenced by the presence of several residents and other onlookers watching the bridge make its final descent toward the earth around 2 a.m. – that gave way to a happy morning.

“It could have gone a lot worse than it did,” joked Bill Carruthers, who along with partner Andrew Lonseth built Vineyard Lane and are paying for the new bridge. “It could have tied up a bunch of traffic but it didn’t. It went very well.”

About 75 percent sold, Vineyard Lane, off SR-305, just north of the ferry terminal, now is home to some 65 residents who live on land that once was home to a winery owned by island vintner Gerard Bentryn.

Bentryn will join Carruthers and Lonseth for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the bridge at 4 p.m. July 6.

The new bridge – 250 feet long and 11 feet wide, with an ironwood deck – is on the east side of the highway.

It was constructed in Minneapolis and shipped to Bainbridge in five 50 foot pieces.

The span connects Vineyard Lane to the other side of the ravine, where a trail to Cave Avenue is expected to be finished within a month.

Its $800,000 bill will be footed entirely by Vineyard Lane, but the bridge will be owned by the city, Carruthers said. The city will pay for the trail connection to Cave.

“Vineyard Lane forked over all of the money for this,” said Melva Hill, an engineer with the city. “They wanted pedestrian access all along Highway 305.”

Hill said the city’s plans call for a extending the new pedestrian connection north to High School Road sometime in the next year.

That connection could be the first of many non-motorized improvements on the east side of 305 between Winslow Way and High School Road, where few north-south connections now exist because of the snaking ravine.

The city is studying the possibility of pedestrian or bicycle connections that would span 305.

Such a connection could potentially happen at Wyatt, Knechtel or Wallace ways, with the possibility currently being studied as part of the city’s Ferry/Gateway District planning.

Carruthers and Lonseth would eventually like to build a connection toward Vineyard Lane’s eastern neighbors. That would likely require another, smaller bridge, Carruthers said.

“Like the new bridge, it would be for the entire city to use,” he said.

Carruthers praised Drury Construction and Pacific Heights Construction, along with the city and the state Department of Transportation, for their roles in the project.

“If it hadn’t been for their cooperation,” he said, “this wouldn’t have worked.”

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New bridgework

In coordination with the state Department of Transportation, local developers Bill Carruthers and Andrew Lonseth and former winery property owner Gerard Bentryn will host a ribbon-cutting celebration at the new pedestrian bridge at 4 p.m. July 6.

The bridge, located off 305 between Winslow Way and High School Road, was installed by workers overnight Thursday.

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