A Demag AC 435 operated by Oldham Crane Service, Inc. sets a new foot bridge in Eugene, Oregon

A 180-ton All Terrain Demag AC 435 mobile crane with a 100-foot of boom supplied by Oldham Crane Service, Inc. towered over Amazon Creek in west Eugene as it swung the ­latest piece of the $100 million west Eugene EmX project into place.

John Oldham, whose family started the business three generations ago, was at the crane controls Thursday. He said he has operated cranes for 30 years. Despite some rain, he said the weather allowed for an easy move.

“As long as it didn’t get too windy we were in good shape.”

Builders will finish the bridge next spring, along with a similar span over Amazon Creek at Wallis Street less than a mile west.

“This (bridge) is ­going to be a great benefit for people who walk, bike, skateboard or want to take LTD bus service … ,” he said.

Construction crews last week installed the Wallis Street bridge, using the same crane. City of ­Eugene officials also plan to install a third nearby ­bicyclist-and-pedestrian bridge as part of the project.

“We expect that the bridges are going to be a vital connection for those neighborhoods just south of West 11th Avenue,” McGlone said.

A $2.9 million state grant covers the cost of the bridges, McGlone said. In all, the west Eugene EmX project will cost more than $100 million, including the bridges.

Workers began construction three years ago of the 4½-mile bus route between downtown and the Randy Papé Beltline, where the road meets West 11th. The rapid bus service is scheduled to start next September.

Each of the LTD bicyclist­-and-pedestrian bridges weighs more than 42,000 pounds, or about 21 tons, said Lisa Van­Winkle, LTD spokeswoman.

The steel bridges are the same size — 14 feet wide — and have the same two-arch design, with gray paint. Built by a company in Minnesota, the bridges are hauled by truck to ­Eugene in two pieces each, VanWinkle said.

The optimal time to work near Amazon Creek is now, McGlone said.

“They don’t want to dig up right next to the creek during the rainy season,” he said. ­Construction work would stir up dirt, which rainwater would carry into the creek and degrade sensitive streamside habitat.

The new bridge crosses Amazon between two previously unconnected sections of Buck Street. Construction workers next year will pave bike paths linking the bridge to the two sections.

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