Work starts on new Red Rock trailheads
31st Street site could be ready by May 1

       New trailhead construction at Red Rock Canyon Open Space began in earnest last week.
       Trax Construction crews have been steadily digging out the new site on 31st Street south of Highway 24, then transporting the excess dirt to what will eventually be the new parking lot at the High Street trailhead (also located south of the highway and about a half-mile to the west).
       “We're pleased with the way they're getting at it,” said Colorado Springs Parks Development Manager Chris Lieber.
       City Parks' hope is that the 31st Street project will be done by May 1. The trailhead will have a paved lot with 20 regular parking spaces, 8 to 10 horse-trailer spaces, a restroom and signage. Curb and gutter will also be installed along 31st Street in front of the trailhead.
       Working on a $647,000 contract with the city, Trax will build both trailheads as well as implement a major drainage-control project that will keep debris from washing out of Sand Canyon onto High Street, Lieber said.
       Around the middle of this month, under a separate $8,000 contract, Heartland Outdoors is scheduled to begin building a multi-use trail that will connect the 31st Street site with the High Street trailhead. A Colorado Springs firm, Heartland crews will use mechanized equipment and hand tools, Lieber said.
       The trail will curve up from the parking lot to the dirt road that the Bocks - the property's owners until the city bought it in 2003 - had cut in to provide access to a gravel quarry. The trail will follow that road past the quarry, then pass through a cut in the hogbacks to connect with the path from the High Street trailhead.
       The goal is for Heartland to finish the trail by early May, Lieber said.
       Trax will turn full-time to the High Street trailhead once 31st Street is done.
       The idea, according to Lieber, is for park visitors to access Red Rock at 31st Street while the trailhead and drainage work at High Street goes on. The intent is to keep the High Street access open during construction, but it may be limited at times because of the work, he said.
       The High Street improvements will consist of a paved 100-vehicle parking lot, restrooms and signage. The dirt that is being brought over from 31st Street is being used to raise low spots and to help provide a “visual separation” from Highway 24, Lieber said. The optimum schedule has the parking lot in place by July 1, he added.
       Regarding the drainage work, he said, “Historically a lot of sediment has been washing onto High Street. Part of being a good steward of the land is to address sedimentation and water quality issues to make sure that it's no longer a problem.”
       A temporary trail has been cut in south of the new High Street lot, allowing continued access to the park interior from the old gravel parking lot during construction. This trail, closer to the rocks than the old Bock road that formerly was used for access, is near where the permanent trail will go in, Lieber said.

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