New trail designed to ease traffic congestion along Forum Boulevard

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | 5:59 p.m. CST; updated 6:56 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 22, 2014
This map shows the two proposed trails along Forum Boulevard. The project is expected to ease traffic congestion by moving pedestrians and bikes off of the road.

COLUMBIA — Plans for a new trail and bridge parallel to Forum Boulevard are designed to make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists by moving them off of the busy thoroughfare.

The new Katy Lane to Woodrail Avenue pedestrian trail and bridge project will be showcased at an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at First State Community Bank, 300 Diego Court, to let the public give input and ask questions about the project.

The project includes a 10-foot-wide, 3,500-foot-long concrete trail between Katy Lane and Woodrail Avenue with a pedestrian bridge over Hinkson Creek.

There are two proposed trail routes, with each branching off of the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail at different points. One proposed route begins near Victoria Park and runs along the east edge of Forum; a second option breaks off from the MKT Trail at the Forum Nature Area and is spaced farther west from Forum.

Additionally, the pedestrian bridge on either route will be positioned to allow for future widening of Forum. The vehicle bridge on Forum will also be re-striped to include a left turn lane into the retail area that includes Wilson's Fitness.

"The vehicle bridge on Forum is not striped for bikes and pedestrians," said Cliff Jarvis of the Columbia Public Works department. "It backs up traffic in the morning."

The goal of the project is to get bikers and pedestrians off of Forum, while also alleviating traffic congestion.

The project will cost an estimated $1 million. Construction is expected to last four months and begin in 2015.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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