Preliminary work on the next installment of the walking/bike trail in Creston could start as early as this week.
Workers plan to clear and mow brush away from the proposed trail location — starting at the Green Valley (GV) dam and working around the east side of the lake and through the beach area and campground — so the land can be surveyed, staked and prepped for construction.
The current trail runs from McKinley Lake and past the YMCA and Southwestern Community College. It then cuts across the road and up the western property line of Mitchell Marsh to the GV dam.
“What we are waiting on is buttoning up a couple of permits while the contractor wraps up their other work,” GV State Park Ranger Alan Carr said.
The new addition will be about 3 1/2 miles and share small sections of the road going across the dam and on the east side of the ranger station.
While the dry weather has been tough on farmers, it has been decent weather for construction. Carr said the contractor is confident if the weather holds, the project could be done this fall.
“I’m not quite as optimistic. Every time we try to do a project out here, it takes longer than expected,” Carr said. “It will be exciting to watch the progress once everything gets moving.”
“There is two locations where they have to use our road,” said Union County Engineer Steve Akes. “One is on the dam itself, because the dam is too narrow to add a trail along the side, and the other is up on 130th where the road goes over to the park.”
Akes said the agreement would give the park the right to use the two sections of road as part of the bike trail.
Carr said trail users will not have to go onto Green Valley Road. The plan is to push up a berm so the trail can run parallel to the road.
“While they are working, it will be in our right-of-way, but when the trail is complete it will just run along the side separate of the road,” Akes said.
Part of the contract requires new road signs to warn motorists of the bicycle and foot traffic. Akes said there will be 12 new signs warning drivers from both directions.
Carr hopes the new addition to the trail builds support to continue extending the trail the entire circumference of the lake.
“We don’t have the next phase written in stone,” Carr said. “It will be interesting to see down the road if there is support for it.”
If the trail surrounds the lake, Carr estimated cyclists, runners and walkers could get about 18 miles for their workout.
“By the time you ride from town, you can make a nice little ride out of it,” Carr said.
Other county news
At Monday’s Union County Supervisor’s meeting, Akes scheduled a public hearing 10 a.m. Monday for more information about the new CAT motor grater.
The proposal to buy a new motor grater was one of six suggestions proposed by Akes. Other options included rebuilding older machines or purchasing used equipment from another county.
Akes also reported the second county mowing is more than 75 percent complete. Mowers target main highways and problem areas for the third pass to help prevent snow drifts.