After quite a long wait, construction on the final segment of the Ship Canal Trail (Phase 2, Contract 2 illustrated in purple below) is set to begin in early September and be completed by the end of the year, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation. This work would close up a long-time gap in the Burke-Gilman Trail and connect Redmond to downtown Seattle by almost entirely dedicated bike paths.
This comes as great news for Seattle bicycle commuters, who have been waiting for this project to conclude for over a decade. The first phase of work, which extended the paved bike path from the south shore of the Fremont Bridge to 6th Ave W was completed in 1996. The first half of Phase 2, extending the trail further to 11th Ave W, concluded over a year ago, in March of 2010. Before SDOT could move forward with the final phase of the project, however, a number of roadblocks had to be overcome, including the relocation of a private utility line and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks. First a construction schedule had to be agreed upon with BNSF Railway. The rail line then had to install 1,600 feet of railroad track, pave the 13th Ave W and W Blewett Way intersection, and build three new railroad crossings on BNSF right-of-way before construction on the final stretch of the Ship Canal Trail could even begin.
* Photo courtesy of SDOT
SDOT says BNSF is expected to complete its railroad track realignment work this month, after which the city can extend the final leg of the trail, from 11th Ave W to Emerson Street near Fishermen’s Terminal, eliminating what it calls a “critical gap” in the city’s urban trails system.
Once Phase 2 is completely, the 3/4 mile of new trail will connect Redmond to Downtown Seattle by almost entirely dedicated bike paths, and complete the Queen Anne Bicycle Beltway, a cycling path that encircles Queen Anne hill (and is also part of the Queen Anne Neighborhood Plan). From SDOT:
The Ship Canal Trail will connect the Elliott Bay Trail and the Interbay and Magnolia neighborhoods to bicycle routes at the Fremont Bridge, including the Interurban route on Fremont Avenue North, the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the Dexter Avenue route, and will make bike riding in the south canal area more comfortable for all levels of bicyclists.
Construction of the trail is funded through the city’s Bridging the Gap Levy, a 9-year, $365 million campaign to propel the city’s transportation effort forward through maintenance and improvement.
For more information on this project contact LeAnne Nelson at (206) 684-3897 or visit the the project website.