The Oregon Department of Transportation has opened a stretch of the state trail in the Columbia Gorge that will allow bicyclists and hikers to make the 34 miles from Troutdale to Cascade Locks without braving traffic on Interstate 84.
The 1.6-mile segment is part of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, an effort to reuse roadway completed in 1922 as America's first scenic highway but largely abandoned or demolished when the interstate highway system was built.
Plans are eventually to extend the trail to Hood River although the design and financing are still under study.
The $8.1 million project opened Thursday includes a 12-foot-wide paved path accessible to bicyclists, walkers and people using wheelchairs. It also has a picnic and rest area, and a link to Elowah Falls.