Evaluating Trail Alignment Options to Connect Popular Trail Systems
Snyder & Associates began working with Dallas County Conservation Board to identify a feasible trail route connecting the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Perry to the High Trestle Trail in Woodward in 2014. Known as the Let’s Connect trail segment, this project will create a significant link between the two popular destination trail systems.
Former Railroad Right-of-Way Creates Challenging Trail Alignment
Trail route alignment was challenging because the former railroad right-of-way (ROW) had been abandoned and reverted to adjacent property owners many years ago. In some places, the right-of-way parcels remain intact. In others, the right-of-way and former grade have been completely obliterated. The initial task was to find suitable routes, ideally with property owners willing to work, in principle, with Dallas County Conservation Board to accommodate the trail design.
Snyder & Associates reviewed and evaluated nine separate alignments based on several factors including:
- Availability of ROW or ability to acquire
- Public feedback
- Directness of route
- Anticipated construction costs
- Preliminary environmental review
Out of these alternative alignments, two options were identified as feasible and Dallas County Conservation Board began to move forward with property acquisition and fundraising for the preferred alignment. During that time, we provided easement plats, reviewed funding applications, and developed construction cost opinions for each of the five planned phases. Our team also completed Countersigned Categorical Exclusion documentation which resulted in NEPA clearance for the proposed trail route.
Phased Trail Construction due to Trail Funding
With sufficient funding for the construction of Phase 1, which starts in Perry, follows the former railroad grade, and ends 1.5 miles to the northeast at 130th Street, construction began and was completed in summer 2018. Snyder & Associates completed wetland delineation, engineering trail design and specifications, project letting, and construction administration.
The entire 9-mile trail route has been identified and NEPA clearance has been secured. The remaining phases are planned as follows:
- Phase 2 — Starts in Woodward and works west from R Avenue to S Avenue
- Phase 3 — Starts at Quinlan Avenue and works west to connect with Phase 2 at R Avenue
- Phase 4 — Starts at Bouton Avenue and works west to connect with Phase 3 at Quinlan Avenue
- Phase 5 — Starts at 130th Street, where Phase 1 ended and works west to connect with Phase 4 at Bouton Avenue, completing the connection from Perry to Woodward.
Our team continues to assist Dallas County Conservation Board as they move forward with property acquisition and multi-use trail design and development while additional funds are secured. The total project cost is estimated at $5 million, and donations can be made online directly to Dallas County Conservation.