The first trail connection between Fort Collins and Loveland, part of the Colorado Front Range Trail, will soon be available to bicyclists and pedestrians.
The concrete trail is expected to be completed in September when a 2-mile section will connect Loveland’s Recreation Trail, just west of Boyd Lake State Park, to Fort Collins’ Fossil Creek Trail at Carpenter Road between Lemay Avenue and Timberline Road. The new connection will tie 18 miles of trail in Loveland to 35 miles of trails in Fort Collins.
The last section costs $1.2 million, with grant funding of $450,000 from the Colorado Department of Transportation and $350,000 from Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s State Trails Program made the project, making completion more possible, city of Loveland Parks and Recreation Planner Scott Sinn said.
The project, which has been in the works since 2002, is a partnership between the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland and Larimer County, and is part of the North Front Range Metropolitan Organization long-range plans for regional trail connections in Northern Colorado.
“I just think it’s a good step in the right direction to giving every citizen, community member (access to) a different form of transportation … and provide a safe option for people to commute back and forth,” Sinn said.
He said after this portion of the trail is completed, the next step is to connect trails between Loveland south to Berthoud.
Larimer County Resource Specialist Zac Wiebe said residents are “overwhelmingly supportive” of the project. Even the three homeowners associations that the trail runs through, he said, have been “supportive and I would say even anxious to see the trail built.”
Wiebe said the trail connections are also a statewide priority, part of a plan to connect trails from Wyoming to New Mexico.
City of Fort Collins Planning Engineer Suzanne Bassinger said the Front Range Trail segment and existing and future segments of the future Poudre Trail are part of the statewide trail system.
Another segment of trail connection between Fort Collins and Loveland has also been identified in the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Regional Bicycle Plan — the Longview Trail Corridor. That trail is under design now and expected to be completed in late 2018.
The Longview Trail will provide a similar north-south connectivity on the west side of the cities, from near South Shields Street in Fort Collins to North Taft Hill Road in Loveland.
“We’re just really excited that we’re adding almost 9 miles of trail by next summer, and it will be terrific connectivity for the public,” Bassinger said.
Future plans include trail connections between Fort Collins and Timnath underneath Interstate 25, she said, as part of a partnership between CDOT’s project that includes building a new bridge over the Poudre River. Once that segment of the trail is complete, it will run from Laporte west of Fort Collins to Greeley.
Fort Collins is also hoping to complete by the end of this year or early next the last stretch to connect the east-west Fossil Creek Trail in the southern part of the city.
That 1.2-mile extension will run across Redtail Grove Natural Area, between Harmony and Trilby roads, through a tunnel under the railroad tracks and across another piece of city-owned land to provide a long-planned connection to Shields Street and Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area.
You can follow Reporter Saja Hindi on Twitter at @BySajaHindi or email her at [email protected]
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