$8.6 million in House bill would address extensions on Pipeline pedestrian bridge

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A proposed extension of the Pipeline Pedestrian Bridge would cross above the BNSF rail lines toward South Wenatchee Avenue.

WENATCHEE — Eight District U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier has sought out millions of dollars worth of earmarks for central Washington projects. At least one of those earmarks for the Wenatchee Valley has now made it into a major infrastructure bill.

The INVEST in America Act, which just passed a key House committee on Wednesday, features $8.6 million for a proposed extension of the Pipeline Pedestrian Bridge. Right now, the bridge — part of the Apple Capital Loop Trail — terminates at the BNSF railroad tracks on the Wenatchee side of the Columbia. One proposed extension would allow bike and pedestrian access from the South Wenatchee Avenue area; upgrades on the east side would improve access across Highway 28.

“The project is really a bundle of project that includes these two pedestrian bridges,” said Jeff Wilkens, executive director of the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council. “… It’s getting over the railroad barrier on the Wenatchee side, and getting over Highway 28 on the East Wenatchee side.”

The INVEST in America Act is a $548 billion package of transportation and infrastructure spending. Schrier’s earmark requests that were approved in the file bill amounted to $19 million for three 8th District projects, including the Pipeline Bridge project and highway improvements in the cities of Auburn and Orting.

Wilkens says the project is in the very early planning and proposal stages. The INVEST in America Act went to the full House with a 38-26 vote of approval; it still must pass the House and Senate and get President Joe Biden’s signature.