CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – City of Charleston officials are moving forward with their next steps in the multi-million dollar Ashley River Crossing project.

The first reading of moving forward with funding was approved during Tuesday’s Charleston City Council Meeting.

The city is now waiting for the federal government to approve the next steps with a one million dollar grant. Bicyclists in the area say they are excited to see connectivity for thousands of residents in the area to enjoy.

“This particular bridge is not only an important gap to address on its own, but it’s propelling all of these other connections to get into place,” says Katie Zimmerman, the Executive Director of Charleston Moves.

City of Charleston officials are moving forward with submitting plans to start designing and building the Ashley River Crossing project. Mayor John Tecklenburg says construction is expected to start early next year to create a greenway and paths linking the Upper Peninsula and West Ashley.

“We are really making incredible progress that’s why we are all excited. an important piece of this with the cost of living is making sure you have all the funding in place,” says Mayor Tecklenburg.

Zimmerman hasn’t owned a car in 16 years and her main mode of transportation is her bike. She crosses the bridge almost every day and says this project is needed to improve safety as sidewalks are very narrow.

“I do not drive I don’t own a car. Bicycling is the most efficient way for me to get across it. I don’t think motorists realize how close they actually are to those of us who are on that side path,” says Zimmerman.

The project is expected to provide pedestrian and bicycle paths that are 21 feet wide. Mayor Tecklenburg says will improve mobility for thousands of people, especially in the highly populated medical district.

“It is a mobility piece for our city and it’s going to take cars off the road. It will also provide a remarkable recreation and quality of life addition,” says Mayor Tecklenburg.

The projects are expected to cost around $41 million in total and city leaders expect the project to be completed by 2026.