LOVELAND SKI AREA - Friday's ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the completion of the five-mile Bakerville to Loveland bike and pedestrian trail segment that started in June 2010.
A partnership between the Colorado Department of Transportation, Clear Creek County, the U.S. Forest Service and members of the bicycling community, the bike path is another step forward in realizing the 1990 Intercounty Nonmotorized Corridor Master Plan, Berten Weaver said. Weaver is Clear Creek County's community development director and infrastructure developer and has played a leading role in getting the trail segment completed.
Paving and grading the five-mile segment, which runs parallel to and just south of Interstate 70, began in June 2010, a CDOT news release said. It was a dirt trail prior, and cyclists more often took to the highway shoulder.
The release further stated that, with the completion of the Bakerville to Loveland segment, "only one segment remains between Denver and Glenwood Springs where bicyclists need to use the I-70 shoulder - the two-mile section between the Genesee Interchange and Evergreen Parkway ... CDOT now is predesigning that segment."
The project totalled $903,000, which was funded almost entirely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It's part of more than $500 million ARRA funds coming to the state, including $121 million for transit, the CDOT release said.
A few dozen people gathered Friday at Loveland Ski Area to celebrate the trail's completion. Many donned helmets and spandex and leaned against their bicycles as they listened to and applauded several leaders who spoke about the project. They then took off on a ride to Euro Grill in Georgetown to inaugurate the trail.
Weaver said there's much more to the master plan, such as linkage with Grand and Summit counties and possibly Straight Creek access through Loveland Ski Area. Maybe there will eventually be bikes on the back of chairlifts, he suggested, adding, "I hope having this (trail) here now will help stimulate that vision."
Immediate benefits of the trail include safety and improved aesthetics for residents and visitors who previously rode along the shoulder of I-70, Clear Creek County Commissioner Kevin O'Malley said.
"It was 18 years in the making," Forest Service supervisor Glenn Casamassa said. "Perseverance and stick-to-it-ness is what gets things done."
SDN reporter Janice Kurbjun can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.