Rock Island at Sheridan Penny Bridges—So Far, So Good
After a delay of almost two years, the repairs to the Rock Island Trail under the Sheridan Penny Bridges are finally complete. The trouble began when the bridges on Sheridan were replaced and the Rock Island rebuilt underneath them. Although this had always been an area of the trail prone to flooding, the situation became much worse after the replacement project. Although our recent very wet weather pattern did not help, the drainage of the trail area had deteriorated. In addition the concrete used for the portion of the trail under Sheridan had the wrong surface, not regulation for trails.
One reason for the delay was the difficulty of engineering a satisfactory drainage system for the area. If you sprint by, you might have missed the elaborate drainage system which has been installed. It includes several protected drain heads and extensive rocks that now buttress the embankments. Finally, the trail paving underneath the bridges has been redone, giving runners a nice, smooth running surface. Best of all, after a series of recent rains the trail surface dried quickly, indicating the new project is a success. Let’s hope our coming winter isn’t as snowy as last year and the spring is without the flooding rains.
Detour Coming Soon: Boosalis Trail at Beal Slough
If you regularly run on the east stretch of the Helen Boosalis Trail (along Highway 2) between 48th and 56th Streets, you will soon be encountering a trail detour. At roughly 52nd Street the trail crosses the Beal Slough where even a modest rain floods the crossing. An extensive rebuild will take a few weeks; no easy detour is available. The project is set to begin in early November, weather permitting. If it is delayed extensively then construction will be postponed until spring.
Still Closed: Billy Wolff South
The stretch of the far south portion of the Billy Wolff Trail from Glynoaks Drive (by Sebastian’s Table) underneath 84th Street and then Old Cheney has been closed for several weeks for work to reduce flooding and mud in the underpasses and stabilize the channel on the east side of 84th Street. This was supposed to have been completed by this point but at this writing had not been reopened. With luck by the time you read this, it will be.
Watch Out: Roundabout
The proposed elevated roundabout at Warlick–Old Cheney and South 14th Street has been much in the news of late with the City Council to consider an extensive delay or even cancellation of the project. Whatever your opinion of the roundabout, there is one issue you should be concerned about—being able to cross Old Cheney safely when you are running or biking on the Rock Island Trail. Currently it is not an easy crossing much of the day, but traffic signals create breaks in the traffic and the wide island in the middle make getting across generally feasible. But the whole point of the roundabout is to create a smooth flow of traffic—in other words no breaks.
The running and biking community realized that this would create a serious obstacle for use of our most popular trail and raised enough of an alarm to get the plans to include an underpass for the Rock Island Trail. If the design of the project is tinkered with (which is likely) we need to insist that accommodation is made for runners and bikers.
Bids are open for the construction of the bridge connecting the Rock Island Trail at Densmore Park over to Wilderness Park and a direct connection to the Jamaica North Trail. This will become a destination run for many doing long runs and for bikers who can do an all-trail ride from downtown Lincoln to Marysville, Kansas. But we must be able to get across Old Cheney!
Mopac East: Open but Expect Mud
The MoPac Trail east from the 84th Street Trailhead remains open but expect lots of mud as you approach A Street. Construction crews are busy installing pipes on both sides of A Street and heavy equipment on 94th Street runs across the trail and into the new Hillcrest Townhome development. That keeps the surface pretty torn up. Wear old shoes if you are running this after a rain or snow!
See you on the trails!
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