Monday, November 24, 2014

Centennial Trail Update

The Centennial Trail is getting closer to becoming a reality! The Centennial Trail will be an East-West non-motorized path through Helena, providing a safe, protected through-way for walkers, joggers, and bikers. The Trail is planned to connect the East Helena bicycle path by Walmart to Spring Meadow State Park.

Construction began on the East side of the Trail this fall, but was shut down due to winter weather. The project is currently in winter shutdown and will be completed next spring. While still unpaved, this portion of the trail has been graded and is open for non-motorized use. Barricades have been set up to prevent vehicular traffic from using the trail.

The West side of the Trail will be built using part of the remaining Community Transportation Enhancement Program (CTEP) funds, as approved by the City Commission this summer. The project has gone through the first phase of programming with MDT, and is now in the second phase after plans were approved by City staff.

The planned route (shown in purple) picks up where the current Trail ends at Joslyn St. The Trail will continue south on Joslyn, then head west using Leslie Ave. right-of-way (not currently a built street). The Trail then has the option to head north and continue on Country Club Ave., or find alternative right-of-way to connect to Spring Meadow State Park. These details have yet to be determined.

Once the City receives approval to proceed from MDT, the project can go out to bid for a consultant to design the trail. The trail must be designed and ready-to-build by June 1st in order to use the CTEP funds. City staff is hopeful that the process will go smoothly and construction will begin on the West side next summer.

As evidenced on the walking tour of CT West in October, a dirt path is worn through the ditch on the side of Country Club Ave. from people walking to Spring Meadow State Park and beyond. This is a high traffic roadway currently designed exclusively for cars. A non-motorized connection is vital to provide a safe pathway for those accessing the Park on foot or bike.

As we've learned from so many other non-motorized facilities: if you built it, they will come. Once complete, the Centennial Trail will be a protected corridor for active recreation, families, people exercising, kids, and commuters; promoting a healthy, safe, connected community in Helena.