NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — The renovated northbound span of the Gold Star Memorial Bridge will not only allow heavy freight to bypass a 17-mile detour as they travel between New London and Groton, but also brings new possibilities for cyclists.

Currently, the thin multiuse path on the bridge’s southbound span deters cyclists, according to Robert Bareiss with Bike New London.

“If two people on bikes, or bike and a pedestrian, meet, they have to stop and give way, because you just can’t safely pass each other riding at any speed,” he said.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg stopped Wednesday in New London to officially announce $158 million in federal funding to help speed up the $400 million construction project.

The path is something Buttigieg is excited about.

“Having that kind of dedicated passage for vulnerable road users like bikes and pedestrians that has the opportunity to save lives,” he said.

The bridge connects New London and Groton and faces years of construction work before the project is completed.

About 60,000 vehicles a day drive over the northbound span.

For Paul Fidrych, who owns Paul’s Pasta, the grant is a welcome surprise.

“The bridge has to get fixed,” he said. “It’s a lot older than all of us, or most of us, and it needs to be taken care of.”