Ned Flanders Crossing spans 200 feet across Interstate 405 in Northwest Portland at 15th and 16th Avenues. The car-free walkway weighs 355,000 pounds and connects Northwest Flanders Street on each side of the highway. And, no, the name Flanders Street isn’t a coincidence. “The Simpsons”‘ creator Matt Groening, who grew up in Portland, named the character Ned Flanders after this Portland road. (And the street got its name from early Portland tycoon George Flanders.)
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) posted this Facebook video of the pedestrian bridge’s ribbon-cutting, along with people using the bridge, earlier in the summer.
Flanders Crossing cost $9.5 million, is built to withstand a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, and took a year to build before it opened to the public on June 4. It has marked lanes for foot and bicycle traffic in each direction.
Its official dedication took place Sept. 9 with a ceremonial unveiling of a bronze plaque sporting an image of Ned Flanders and his catchphrase “Hi-diddly-ho, neighborinos.”
“Naming this new bridge after Ned Flanders shows that Portland can build great things and have fun too,” said Jo Ann Hardy, Portland’s transportation commissioner, in a press release. “Thank you to Matt Groening and his team for embracing this idea.”
Also in attendance were Sean VanGordon, the mayor of Springfield, Oregon, (the inspiration city for “The Simpsons”‘ town of Springfield), and Jeff Miller, president and CEO of Travel Portland.
“We hope the Ned Flanders Crossing brings a smile to the face of your wonderful neighbors and becomes a positive connection for our two cities,” said Mayor VanGordon.
Check out this short PBOT video on the Flanders Crossing construction.
According to The Oregonian and the city, people have wanted a safe way for pedestrians and cyclists to go between the Northwest and Pearl districts in the city since the 1970s. Northwest Flanders Street was chosen for its potential as a big foot-traffic area. New traffic lights and a greenway near Ned Flanders Crossing help those walking and wheeling get onto and off the bridge.
“Sideshow” Bob Terwilliger was named after a dangerous stretch of highway in the area known as the Terwilliger Curves. Mayor Quimby got his name from Quimby Street. The rich and devious Charles Montgomery Burns character’s name came from Burnside Street and Montgomery Park.
Bullying elementary school student Kearney Zzyzwicz takes his name from Kearney Street. Van Houten Avenue supposedly inspired the last name of Milhouse Van Houten. And Lovejoy Street inspired the moniker of Reverend Timothy Lovejoy.
If there was a new bridge built in your hometown, what name would you pick that connects it to your city?