$182K grant helps, but group likely will need more to finish trail | PostIndependent.com

$182K grant helps, but group likely will need more to finish trail

Organizers of a proposed hiking and biking trail from West Glenwood through South Canyon got some financial help from the Colorado State Parks and Trails Program recently. The $182,000 grant will go to design and construct the trail, said Lower Valley Trails Group director Larry Dragon.The group has raised about $2 million toward the cost of the project.Still unknown is the final price of the trail. “The price is a moving target, it just keeps getting higher and higher,” Dragon said. “Unfortunately, due to the dramatically rising costs for … construction materials and greater engineering and design requirements, we are clearly still in need of funds to complete the project.”So far, the group has received funding from Great Outdoors Colorado, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Garfield County, the city of Glenwood Springs and the Bikes Belong Coalition.The trail will head west from Glenwood Springs through narrow South Canyon and will be constructed between Interstate 70 and the Colorado River.”Because there is little room outside of the highway guard rails before the steep embankment (starts), the trail will require the construction of retaining walls for 60-70 percent of its length,” he said.The retaining walls – the most expensive aspect of the project, Dragon said – will drive up the cost.Other considerations, such as the width of the trail and the material it will be paved with, cement or asphalt, will also be constrained by cost, he added.Although the group has a sizable amount of money in hand, “we may still have to raise a significant amount of money in one year,” he said.Plans call for completion of the trail design and award of the construction contract in October. Construction should begin in the spring of 2007 and be completed that fall.Last week LoVa held a public meeting to invite comment on the trail plan. A preliminary trail design was unveiled along with alternative trail widths and related cost.”Most of the input reflected the excitement of citizens to a trail that will connect Glenwood Springs to the communities to the west,” he said.That stretch of highway through narrow South Canyon is the only route for traffic. Highway 6 begins at the Canyon Creek exit.Prospective trail users said they would like a wide trail, but that may not be possible for the full length of that segment.”The problem with width is money, and money is the issue,” he said.Once the West Glenwood to South Canyon trail segment is completed, the trail will be continued to Canyon Creek where it will link up with Highway 6.

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