A gently sweeping, wooden suspension bridge for foot traffic over the Shepaug River at Hidden Valley Preserve, just off Route 47 in Washington, will soon be a reality.

Town voters approved June 2 an initial $150,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant toward the project.

Edwin Matthews, a trustee of the Steep Rock Association, shepherded the project along.

The balance of the $650,000 cost of the bridge would come privately from the Gould Foundation.

"Lois Gould lived in Washington and walked often in Hidden Valley," Mr. Matthews said. "She was a member of Steep Rock Association."

Mr. Matthews became concerned last year when he learned the state Department of Transportation planned to construct a new pedestrian bridge from the Route 47 side parking lot to the parking lot at the preserve.

The DOT plans call for a 6-foot tall cyclone fence along the top of the walkway and chain link fence going into the preserve.

With the help of State Senator Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen, acceptance of the alternative project and the $150,000 STEAP grant toward it was secured at the end of 2010.

With the June 2 voter approval, the DOT will be told the alternative bridge is secured for construction in time for the department to cancel the state project.

First Selectman Mark Lyon's goal is to have safe pedestrian passage for walkers and joggers, he said.

The alternative bridge, designed by Gray Organschi Architecture of New Haven, will be an "S" shaped suspension bridge with a pressure-treated, wood platform.

The bridge will start on Presidents Trail, 400 feet upstream from the Bee Brook Bridge on the south side of the river, going to the river's north side.