Celebrations were held in southeast Bend Thursday marking the completion of improvements to Murphy Road, including a new bridge.
The bridge is a key part to east-west connectivity in a rapidly growing part of town.
Hundreds of people walked, ran, rolled on scooters and biked across the new Murphy Road Bridge, before vehicles joined the mix Thursday afternoon.
“I think this bridge is really cool. It improves bike ability, safety and times across town,” said Sue Carroll who rode her bike across town to participate in the celebration. “It’ll be great for the schools and parks that are up and running or will be soon.”
A fire truck was the first vehicle to pass over the bridge, which officials say will significantly improve emergency medical and fire response times in southeast Bend, where thousands of people call home.
“You can now travel all the way from 15th to Brookswood with out a single stop sign, carefully maneuvering through the roundabouts,” said Ryan Oster, the City of Bend’s director of engineering. “We feel it’s going to take a lot of pressure off Reed Market. We are eventually going to build a bridge on Reed Market as well. I think this is going to do a lot to continue to spur development here on the southeast side of town.”
Other improvements include a new three-lane roadway from Parrell Road to Brosterhous Road, three roundabouts, and 3.5 miles of shared-use bike lanes and sidewalks.
“We modernized to have protected bike lanes with sidewalks on both sides of the roadway to increase safety for pedestrians and bikes and all users all the way along the corridor from 15 Street to Parrell,” said Dee Dee Fraley, City of Bend principal engineer.
The project also adds 47 streetlights, 275 new trees, and safe crossings to several neighborhoods, Caldera High School, and the future Alpenglow Park.
“We’ve been dropping our high school daughter off at Caldera every day and our school is right out here east of town so we’ve been counting the days until this would happen so we can shoot through here,” said Jackie LaFrenz.
Slated to cost $37 million, the Murphy Road Corridor Improvements Project came in slightly under budget.