NEW CASTLE — It will soon be safer for residents of Apple Tree Park and Mountain Shadows subdivisions south of New Castle to make their way across the river to access town stores and services.
Both mobile home parks are located off of County Road 335, across the Colorado River from New Castle. A joint effort between the town and Garfield County will put a trail and a pedestrian bridge in place so that people can safely walk, ride their bikes or push strollers into New Castle without having to deal with traffic.
“It’s a safety issue,” said Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, who led the effort on the county’s end. “Apple Tree Park and Mountain Shadows have the second largest population in unincorporated Garfield County, and there are so many people there that either don’t have a vehicle or have only one vehicle per family,” he said.
The county’s trail will be 1.2 miles long and will begin at Apple Tree Park, run along the river bank and back up along the right of way on the road, where it will tie in to a new pedestrian bridge the town is building across the Colorado River next to Exit 105 and the existing overpass bridge.
The cost of the trail is $850,000, and the county will pay for it with money it receives annually from the Colorado Conservation Fund under GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado), Jankovsky said.
“Besides being a safety issue, it will also be a nice trail for the town,” he added.
The Talbott family, which owns Apple Tree Park, is allowing the use of some of their property to build the trail. The Talbotts are also part of the group that is building the New Hope Church on the east side of City Market.
The pedestrian bridge being built by the town will also address safety concerns of pedestrians, bike riders and vehicular traffic sharing the existing bridge to get into town.
The pedestrian bridge is slated to cost $2 million to build, using state grant money, Garfield County mineral lease funds, Garfield County money and town money, according to Town Administrator Tom Baker.
“The commissioners [on Monday] asked us if we would like the staff of New Castle and the county to draw up an [intergovernmental agreement],” he said. “And they want the town to oversee both of the projects.”
Construction on each project is expected to start this spring. The town hopes to have the pedestrian bridge finished by the end of the summer, and the goal for completion of the trail is sometime before November.