County celebrates completion of Swan Mtn. bike path |

County celebrates completion of Swan Mtn. bike path

Caddie Nath
Summit Daily News

SAPPHIRE POINT – Under blue skies and sunshine Friday morning, some 40 people from various public agencies, private groups and bike clubs stood atop Swan Mountain, snacking on cookies and lemonade and gazing at a red ribbon and, beyond it, a very long-awaited bike path.

County commissioners and others close to the $4.6 million dollar process of constructing a bike path between Summit Cove and Farmer’s Korner cut the ribbon in a short ceremony Friday morning and officially opened the last section of the path cyclists have waited nearly 10 years to see completed.

Officials called the project, which was finished $8 million short of initial projections and was funded with help from a number of private and public entities, a testament to Summit County’s ability to collaborate.

“(This is) one more example of how well we all work together and how we all get along,” County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said at the ceremony. “It’s not like this everywhere. It’s a special place.”

Crews began working on the last leg of a bike path, which now completely circles Dillon Reservoir, in May. The path runs separate from the street for a short stretch near Sapphire Point and rejoins Swan Mountain Road as a roadside bike lane down to Farmer’s Korner. Planning for a bike path that would go over Swan Mountain began in 2003, when initial estimates put the total cost close to $12 million. The county began tackling the project slowly, laying down the 1.7 mile Lowry section in 2007. In late 2009 they tried to take up the project again, but work was stalled by snow. The Sapphire section was finally completed in July of 2010, followed closely by the .8-mile stretch at Summit Cove completed the same year.

“It was a lot of hard work and people working creatively together to make all of the sections come together,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said just before the ribbon was cut. “It takes not just a village. This project took an entire state.”

The path was constructed with contributions from the towns of Breckenridge and Frisco, subsidies from county government, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Parks and even Great Outdoors Colorado, the organization that distributes money from the Colorado Lottery – a representative of which called Summit County’s “one of the best trail systems in Colorado.”

Though maybe one of the best in the state, Summit County’s trail system is not finished, speakers at the ceremony promised.

County officials said they plan to put down a 1.5-mile path near the Conoco gas station at Copper Mountain, which will cross to the other side of the river to enhance biker safety up to Highway 91. CDOT is expected to make shoulder improvements to Hwy. 91 for the safety of cyclists this summer as well.

Officials also talked about working with Park County to construct a bike path over Hoosier Pass and with Leadville on a safe and complete path over Fremont Pass.

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