Hundreds of people came out Friday, many with their bicycles, for the dedication of the new Two Rivers Park Bridge.
"Welcome to your new bridge!” Pulaksi County Judge Buddy Villines said to a cheering crowd.
The $5 million pedestrian and bicycle bridge crosses the Little Maumelle River where it meets the Arkansas River and links the Arkansas River Trail with Two Rivers Park. Construction of the bridge, which took a year build, was funded with 80 percent federal dollars and Pulaski County paying the rest.
Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood traveled to Little Rock to cut the ribbon for the new structure, which is just west of the Interstate 430 bridge.
"Thank you for what you are doing, providing people an opportunity to exercise, to experience the great outdoors, to experience this great part of the country," LaHood said. "This is a great project, led by so many leaders and I just say congratulations to all of you. I am delighted to be here. Keep it up!"
LaHood, Villines and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola were the first to venture out on the bridge after the ceremony, crossing it in a golf cart, followed by a stream of people on bicycles.
Ron King of Little Rock was among those eagerly waiting for his chance to ride across.
“I’m excited about it. It’s going to open up miles and miles of more trails to us here so we’re not stuck on the circle that we ride all the time," King said.
After being open about two hours after the dedication, the Two Rivers Park Bridge was closed so that parking lots and ramps can be completed, which is expected to take about two weeks.