GetAbout Columbia sends finished plan back for city approval

Friday, November 14, 2008 | 12:55 p.m. CST; updated 5:00 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two new trail projects are moving closer to completion and will be some of the first to be built with federal funding awarded to Columbia more than two years ago.

The two project plans for Providence Trail South and Greenbriar Trail have been sent back to the Columbia City Council by GetAbout Columbia's executive committee for final design and construction approval. The city previously approved  the County House Branch Trail project, said Ted Curtis of GetAbout Columbia, and it's now in the easement acquisition phase, scheduled to be built in late 2009.

"It’s a normal process. I think the public doesn’t understand how long things take," Curtis said. "I think these are actually moving pretty fast for what would be a normal process."

In July, the city council prioritized the projects and asked GetAbout Columbia to finalize each project’s design and construction details.

Providence Trail South will extend about two miles, starting at Green Meadows Road, and run through the median of Highway 163 until Rock Bridge Elementary School. The trail will have a 10-foot-wide cement trail with a 5-foot gravel path for walkers and runners.

"Providence is such a heavily-traveled road," said Dan Smith, executive committee member. "Riding on the shoulder is not really the safest prospect there."

To connect to downtown, Curtis said GetAbout Columbia plans to have bike lanes on the shoulder of Stadium Boulevard from Green Meadows Road north until the Research Reactor Center. From there, Curtis said, people can take the Hinkson Creek Trail and the MU Recreational Trail to MU's campus and downtown.

Providence Trail South is estimated to cost $1.2 million, Curtis said, and construction could begin in fall 2009.

The city already owns all the land needed for Providence Trail South, speeding up the construction of it compared to Greenbriar Trail, which won’t be built until about summer 2010.

Greenbriar Trail is also more a neighborhood connection, Curtis said, and is estimated to cost $810,000. The trail has a water crossing, a steep hillside, a wooded boardwalk and a connection to the Hinkson Creek Trail.

If the council approves of Providence Trail South, Curtis said, GetAbout officials will start seeking bids for construction. For Greenbriar Trail, officials will start the land acquisition process if the council approves it.

A public hearing for Providence Trail South is scheduled for the Dec. 1 city council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

Smith, who also serves as chairperson for GetAbout Columbia's promotion and education committee, said he's happy to see some of the committee's work moving forward.

"It's been a long and arduous process, to be honest," he said. "It's nice to see a couple of these things starting to get done."

There will also be an interested party meeting regarding potential MKT Trail connectors from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 at the mezzanine conference room at the Daniel Boone Building, 701 E. Broadway. The following MKT Trail connectors will be discussed: Wilson’s, Katy Place, the Garth extension, Stadium Boulevard, Forum Boulevard and Katy Lane.

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