KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A ribbon cutting was held on Wednesday to celebrate the completion of the Northshore Greenway Boardwalk’s third phase.

The project was completed under budget in nine months according to the county. There is now a bridge and a boardwalk going under Northshore Drive. It is designed to enhance pedestrian safety and mobility along Northshore. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs says this will help almost 12,000 people in the area to get out and be more active in their community.

“Stuff like this is, I think, what people expect of their local government. Is the ability to get out, and do things. Recreation is important. We talk a lot about insuring that young people stay in here Knox County, build their families, build their careers here and it’s stuff like this and amenities like this that really make that happen,” said Jacobs.

Commissioner Larsen Jay says the greenway is not just going to help those who are able to walk or run, but it will help cyclists and those with disabilities. Jay says everyone should have safe access to local parks.

“Seeing a family in the ditch trying to get to their park without any access without any sidewalk or without any greenway was absolutely terrifying to me. And so it really started as a true safety project. But then as it grew, we realized that we could connect well over 11,000 people within a mile and a half to their park system in a safe way and a way that brings connectivity between the parks, the neighborhoods and the residents,” said Jay.

The boardwalk is phase three of a four-phase project to increase pedestrian safety along Northshore Drive. The end goal is the link several Knox County Parks together with a greenway, increasing pedestrian access to parks.

“We’ve shown the community that we can do this. We started with Calorie Ridge, that’s the trailhead that we established and finished. Then we went to Concord Park and put the greenway and connected Concord Road to the existing greenway. Now we have this great boardwalk that’s going to keep people from playing frogger across Northshore Drive. And then from here, we’re gonna take it from the park and go all the way to Choto Road,” said Jay.