Many amateur athletes love the Kansas City area’s growing trail system. Cyclists and others get frustrated when trails close, and they eagerly await new connections.
Over the months, and in some cases years, the handsome hound has answered a number of inquiries about trail gaps in the south part of town. Now he is happy to report that his aimless travels have turned up a few developments:
• Kansas City has linked the Indian Creek Trail with the Blue River Trail in the southeast part of town. Travelers reaching the state line from Kansas can go east from the Watts Mill area, swing close to the Bannister Federal Complex and then head east-southeast through very pretty terrain to Blue River Road. Most of the trail is paved, and shelters under railroad overpasses protect trail users from flying debris.
• In Johnson County, the Indian Creek Trail’s long-closed spot at Switzer Road has reopened, but bikers should savor it while they can.
More construction in the U.S. 69 corridor will close the trail again, perhaps as soon as 2015, said Justin Nickel, senior civil engineer for Overland Park. It all depends on when funds become available to replace two 30-year-old bridges on U.S. 69. And after that? More work east of the highway.
The Switzer Road closing resulted from road construction west of U.S. 69 that began in 2011, Nickel said. At one point, he said, city officials thought the trail could reopen for part of last year, but the contractor opted not to do that. The only deadline set by the Kansas Department of Transportation was to open the trail by November of this year.
• Leawood continues to have trouble with unstable ground near a spur that takes walkers and bikers from 123rd Street and Mission Road to the Tomahawk Creek Trail in a park just south of 119th Street.
The city made temporary repairs, reopened the access trail in the spring of 2012 and began making plans for a long-term solution. Then came a violent rainstorm May 31, which closed the trail again.
“The storm caused a lot of flooding in our city, eroding the hill along the trail, causing it to slough off from under a section of the trail,” said public works director Joe Johnson. “This has happened before, but not to this extent. Temporary repairs were made last time, but we could not make temporary repairs from the May 31 storm.”
Reconstruction should begin soon and finish in early 2014. The access trail is off limits until then.
The Watchdog says some of his cur relatives visited from the Desert Southwest and they were quite taken with our trails.
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