Midland Trail plans slowly taking shape

       This could be the year for Phase 2 - and possibly even some of Phase 3 - of the Midland Trail. A duck couple were out for a swim recently near the
western end of Cucharras Street, where the Midland Trail is to cross Fountain Creek.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Master-planned to continue west to Manitou Springs, the hiking/biking trail has been stopped since the 12-foot-wide Phase 1 segment was built from America the Beautiful Park to 21st Street in 2004. Easement issues and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) review requirements have been the chief reasons for the delay, according to City Parks trail specialist Jeff Haley.
       “The way things are moving now, I'm confident that by the end of summer, we'll have gotten through CDOT review, and maybe be able to start some construction this fall,” he said in a recent interview. The most likely candidate for development is the segment between 25th and 31st streets.
       However, he noted, that Phase 2 still has one easement issue “near 31st. We're looking at options to get around that.”
       The Phase 2 project, which covers all the easements, design, construction and signage between 21st and 31st streets, is budgeted at $1,050,000. The money is coming from federal transportation funds and the local Trails and Open Space (TOPS) sales tax.
       CDOT is involved in the review process because it is delegated to ensure the federal transportation funds are spent appropriately, Haley explained.
       Because of the “intensive” nature of the project - including major grading, earthwork, concrete and bridge placements - most of the work will be contracted out, although “there could be some volunteer opportunities during construction,” Haley said.
       The Phase 2 work between 21st and 25th will consist mostly of signage. That's because Midland Trail users will be following city streets as they proceed west from the current stopping point. However, the city has recently decided to build a sidewalk north to Cucharras, along the east side of 21st. Signage will then guide hikers/bikers west along Cucharras to 25th and south to the Fountain Creek bridge.
       Construction is to start at that location, with the trail being cut in along the south bank and under the 26th Street bridge. The trail will mostly follow the creek from there to 31st, crossing to the north bank at one point, then back to the south before finally emerging at the 31st and Highway 24 intersection.
       A consultant has been working on the design for Phase 3, which is to continue west along 24, continuing from there to Ridge Road, to Colorado Avenue and up to Manitou. Haley said it is possible some Phase 3 construction could also occur in 2008. It currently is funded with $650,000 (also from federal and TOPS allocations), although he anticipates that to finish the job “we most likely will need additional funds.”

Westside Pioneer article