Construction on a two-mile trail segment that will connect with Olive Boulevard is expected to begin this month.
"We're just building small sections as we go," said Patrick Owens, project manager with Great Rivers Greenway. The segment is part of a planned 20-mile trail expected to eventually stretch from Forest Park to the upper Mississippi River in St. Charles County.
Two sections of the trail already are in place. The first opened a couple of years ago at the intersection of Interstate 170 and Olive Boulevard — "basically a streetscape with lighting and street trees and a broad sidewalk," Owens said.
Tracing the new trail
The new Olive-Shaw Park connector will feature a 10-foot-wide concrete path for bicyclists and other pedestrians. A trailhead will be located at a culdesac on the western edge of Shaw Park near a couple of softball fields.
From there, the trail will extend past , cross Ladue Road near Hunter Avenue and go alongside in . It will go through an existing crosswalk at Delmar Boulevard and McKnight Road in , slope up to Old Bonhomme at I-170 and end at Olive in Olivette.
Clayton, University City, Ladue and Olivette all have signed agreements to operate and maintain the trail once it is built.
Work is expected to wrap up in six months.
Affects on commute, a Metro connection
Road closures are not anticipated as a result of the trail construction, Owens said. At times, trucks will travel in and out of the project area, but that should not hinder traffic.
Construction will happen from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Work will be readily visible from I-170 because a portion of the trail lies along the old Terminal Railroad. That property is owned by Metro Transit, which has agreed to let Great Rivers use the site for the trail.
Costs and future plans
It will cost approximately $2 million to build the trail section, Owens said. A tenth of a cent sales tax funds Great Rivers, which puts between $10 million and $11 million toward the construction of trails in St. Louis city, St. Louis County and St. Charles County each year. Remaining revenues go to parks districts and parks departments in those areas.
The organization has so far helped build 100 miles of trail and plans to build a 600-mile system throughout the region.
BSI Constructors will manage the construction of the Olive-Shaw Park trail section, while XL Contracting is serving as the lead contractor for the project. A total of seven contractors will contribute.
Owens said Great Rivers is hopeful people who commute into Clayton by car will see the trail as an alternative way to get to work.
"We would hope that they would use the trail as opposed to 170 and that the trail would help ease traffic congestion," he said. "We also would hope that families driving their children to school would now have an option to get their kids to school via the trail."
He said in University City is excited about the project because its residents will be able to exercise using the trail.
"It's a real regionalist approach to improving the quality of life for St. Louis," Owens said.
A copy of a letter sent to University City residents about the construction can be found here.