The West Cashmere Bridge held an opening and dedication ceremony on June 22 at 10 am to commemorate the completion of Chelan County’s largest-ever transportation project, which cost about $27 million in total. The bridge replaced the former Goodwin Road Bridge and provides large vehicles access to Cashmere without going through downtown.
Previously, semitrucks and other large vehicles transporting goods had to go through Cashmere’s downtown to deliver. The bridge is expected to allow for more industrial development in Cashmere as well as provide another point of access for Link Transit.
Chelan County Commissioner Bob Bugert introduced the project and expressed his gratitude to the community for seeing the project through. State Senator Hawkins said before funding for the project was found, he was worried that the old bridge would eventually have to be closed.
“I feared over time that the bridge would render itself and undrivable because it was falling apart,” Hawkins said. “And so, in 2017…I got elected senator and the Senate Republicans happened to be in the majority… and my office thought well maybe there is an opportunity where we can round up support.”
In 2017, there was still a $5 million deficit in funding the bridge, Hawkins said. The gap was funded by $2 million in the state transportation budget and $3 million in a state mobility grant. He said that receiving such a large amount from the state transportation budget only happens occasionally and that it was a huge showing of support.
State Representative Keith Goehner said that before the new bridge was built transportation from that side of Cashmere was very limited. Emergency vehicles and freight couldn’t travel over the old bridge, he said.
“When you think about a community, a lot of time the infrastructure is taken for granted,” Goehner said. “In this case the threat of losing an access point really did make everyone aware that this is a serious thing because it really does have an impact on Cashmere.”
After 100 years, the structural integrity of the former Goodwin Road Bridge was compromised, he said. The new bridge also helps to expand railroad crossings in Cashmere, he said. Although the project went over its initial budget, Goehner is glad that such a tremendous asset for Cashmere is now open.
Richard DeRock, general manager at Link Transit, said in an interview that the new bridge will provide Link Transit access to Cashmere that hasn’t been available for over twenty years. Many years ago, Link Transit used the Goodwin Road Bridge for transportation but had to stop due to the weight restrictions.
DeRock said that Link Transit will be building bus stop shelters and creating highway stops at the bridge in the next couple months, which will provide more access points for Route 22. Eventually, Link Transit may expand services to the industrial areas of Cashmere, he said.
The dedication ceremony closed with Bob Bugert inviting the attending community members to walk over the new bridge and enjoy a beautiful view of the river.
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