Whilamut Passage Bridge Opens for Tours

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EUGENE, Ore. — On Saturday, anyone had the opportunity to take a tour of the new I-5 bridge that crosses over the Willamette River. People showed up to get a glimpse of the finished product.

The bridge only saw foot traffic and bikes on Saturday but it was still a busy day. People got to be a part of the special event on Saturday morning, taking pictures and touring the bridge up close before it is in full operation.

Local residents waited in line to see the new Whilamut Passage Bridge, which has been under construction for the last four years.

People in line said they were happy the bridge is complete because many of them travel back and forth on I-5 on a daily basis.

They say the artwork and name also adds to the beauty of the bridge.

“Certainly it pays homage to our Native American population and brings in new engineering techniques and architectural grace and beauty that seem to fit what Eugene is all about,” said Mark Newson from Pleasant Hill.

People in line said the long wait was worth it for this once in a lifetime experience.

Sonny Chickering, the northwest regional manager for ODOT, says the name Whilamut means “where the river ripples and runs fast” and it honors the Kalapuya tribe.

The bridge will officially open at midnight on August 8th.

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