The pedestrian bridge that will carry the Greenway bike and pedestrian path over Barnett Road was put in place early Thursday morning by two giant cranes. While the crossing piece is up, ramps are still under construction and the bridge is not expected to open until September. - Bob Pennell

Barnett Road pedestrian bridge goes up

Spanning Barnett Road, a new steel pedestrian bridge that was hoisted into place Wednesday night created an immediate sensation in south Medford.

"It's awesome," said Don Carey, an 80-year-old Medford resident.

Carey took pictures of the 155-foot span that was placed at night by Carter and Company Inc. of Salem, the contractor for the project.

The $2.3 million bridge is the final link in the uninterrupted, 21-mile-long Greenway bike and pedestrian path from Ashland to Central Point.

The 140,000-pound truss bridge crosses over Barnett at the intersection of Highland Drive.

Carey took lots of pictures of the structure that immediately changed the character of the intersection, casting a huge shadow across the roadway. He said it seemed bigger in the air than when it was on the ground after assembly.

Larry Carter, president of Carter and Company, said the steel truss bridge was lifted into place with two cranes, one rated for lifting 82 tons, the other rated at 90 tons.

Workers will pour concrete on the bridge deck, which will connect with concrete approaches that are under construction. The steel on the bridge is designed to weather and already has a rust patina, but the wire mesh and handrails have been painted black.

Carter said the bridge was scheduled for completion in July, but the target date has been pushed back to September.

He said delays in completing a bridge over Bear Creek on Barnett as well as some minor changes in the design of the pedestrian bridge changed the schedule.

Transportation officials had budgeted $2.3 million for the bridge. Carter's bid to build the structure was $1.7 million, with the remainder of the budgeted amount expected to be used for engineering, design and inspections.

With the truss bridge in place, Carter said, another pillar will be poured on the north side of Barnett to support the approach that meets at a 90-degree angle to the span.

Funding for the bridge comes from $1 million in federal stimulus dollars and $100,000 from the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation. The remainder will come from other federal money for projects that help improve air quality.

The federal money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which distributed $787 billion that was intended to blunt the effects of the sluggish economy.

Beginning near Bear Creek, the sloped approach to the bridge will parallel Barnett on its north side for about 300 feet, rising to the intersection with Highland. From there the aerial path will turn to cross Barnett and connect with the Greenway to the south.

Kellen Carter, a 29-year-old Medford man who works for Carter but isn't related to the Carter family, said he attached all 700 bolts holding the steel truss together. Each bolt was tightened to 1,000 foot pounds by a 6-foot torque wrench, while an inspector looked on, he said.

Carter brought his girlfriend, 23-year-old Ashlee Settell, to the bridge site Thursday to show her his handiwork.

"This bridge will be here long after I'm gone," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail

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