Silverthorne approves construction of Blue River Trail segment
Construction of a long awaited link between two sections of the Blue River Trail system in Silverthorne is slated to begin next month.
On Wednesday, the Silverthorne Town Council voted unanimously to award a $924,647 bid to local company Betone Civil Constructors for the construction of Segment 5 of the Blue River Trail system.
Segment 5 is included in Silverthorne’s 2004 Blue River Master Plan. Design of Segment 5 was completed in 2011 and funds for the project were included in town council’s 2013 budget.
The segment begins just north of Silverthorne Town Hall and continues north for 1,800 feet to the Willow Grove Open Space and the Tammy Lynn Jamieson Memorial Bridge. Once completed, Segment 5 will join two existing, but discontinuous sections of the Blue River Trail.
Currently, trail users must utilize town roadways to navigate between the two completed sections of the trail system.
“I’m very pleased that we will be completing Segment 5 for the community this summer, because it’s such a critical link in our overall trail system, and something the community has been patiently awaiting for many years,” said Silverthorne Mayor Dave Koop in a news release. “It will be great to get trail users, particularly our younger users, off of the roadway and onto a safe riverfront trail.”
Crews from Betone Civil Constructors were already at the project site Thursday, said Susan Schulman, executive assistant for the town of Silverthorne. Betone employees were fencing off the existing social trail, which will be closed to the public for the duration of the 90-day proposed construction period.
Construction materials will match existing segments of the trail, the release stated. It will be paved at or near existing grade and be 10 feet wide. The plans also call for elevated boardwalk sections where the trail meets wetlands or steep slopes.
Segment 5 construction is scheduled to be completed in October. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place soon after, the release stated.
Development of the Blue River Trail has been a long-standing commitment of the town council and the S.P.O.R.T. Committee, and marks the beginning of the end of a hotly contested issue in Silverthorne.
In 2011, following the design phase of the project, owners along Segment 5 voiced opposition to the trail running through their private property and cited subdivison easements along the Blue River. Town council responded by approving the acquisition of those easements through eminent domain.
A court battle followed to determine exactly what authority the town had to acquire the easements for the purpose of establishing a public walkway. The judge ruled a public walkway easement could not include bicycles.
In February, town council approved an additional vertical rights easement to permit bicycle use and fall into compliance with the court ruling.
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