The Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) and local elected officials were part of a groundbreaking ceremony in Indio Monday morning. The event signified a pivotal moment to see the years-long recreation project through. A new bridge is being built at the future Coachella Valley Link Promontory Point to connect the cities of La Quinta and Indio.
"It’s a $53 million project, it represents part of a 20 mile construction project," said CVAG Executive Director, Tom Kirk.
In October of last year, CVAG approved multimillion dollar contracts totaling more than $52 million to fund the next stage of the CV Link construction, which included a stretch of the pathway in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indio, Coachella, and an unincorporated area of Riverside County.
"If this is a long trail as it is and just for it to be extended, it would be perfect," said Desert Hot Springs resident, Saleste Alonzo.
"We’re so excited in La Quinta, we’ve got a 2-mile stretch that’s really our commercial corridor from Washington Street to Jefferson Street so it’s a very easy adjustment for us because we’re not disrupting areas or golf courses," said La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans.
Evans and Indio Mayor Elaine Homes were at the event, welcoming the project into their cities.
"This is a moment in history for the city of Indio. We have long awaited the CV Link and the ability for people to walk, to bike. For the locals this is a function of economic improvement," said Mayor Homes.
The pathway creates an alternative recreational area that will ultimately span more than 40 miles throughout the Coachella Valley. The CV Link will accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and low-speed electric vehicles.
One portion of the pathway, which spans 3.5 miles of CV Link, is nearing completion in Palm Desert. An additional 3.5 miles is already open to the public in Cathedral City and Palm Springs.
"The 3.5 miles currently under construction will be done later this spring," said Kirk.
Despite a successful day, the project has met many challenges along the way.
"We’ve had incredible partners, and it's taken a long time. We’ve been sued, we’ve been heckled, we’ve had a number of road blocks put up but we’ve overcome all of those so it’s a proud moment for the team to get to this point," said Kirk.
Kirk said the path not only creates a site for recreation, but a safe place so cyclists aren't competing with distracted drivers.
The new addition is expected to be done within 18 months, according to Kirk.