Billy Wolff South: Late Reopening but Worth the Wait
The stretch of the Billy Wolff South Trailâ€”from Glynoaks Drive (near Sebastianâ€™s Table) underneath 84th Street skirting the HiMark Golf Course area and south underneath Old Cheney to just behind Fireworksâ€”was closed for several weeks for a major overhaul. From its original construction, this stretch was plagued by flooding and mud in the underpasses. The wet stretch of weather in recent years also threatened retaining walls in the area.
Although the project ran over, the trail reopened just in time for the nice stretch of weather that ended 2019. The repairs were worth the wait. The underpasses have been upgraded to provide better channeling of water. Downstream the creek has been widened, increasing the water flow.
This prevents pooling of water and the accumulation of mud in the underpasses. Several retaining walls in the area have been strengthened. A few landscaping and minor finishing touches remain for the spring construction season but shouldnâ€™t interfere with trail access. With this section open, runners can go from Nebraska Innovation Campus in the north all the way to 91st Street and Highway 2â€”just in time for those long runs!
No Roundabout, No Worries?
When the bids for the proposed elevated roundabout at Old Cheneyâ€“Warlickâ€“South 14th came in well over estimates, Lincolnâ€™s new mayor canceled the project. As readers of this column no doubt remember, I have long expressed concern about the possible impact of this project on runners and bikers. So, no roundabout, no worries? Well not entirely. Although the elaborate elevated roundabout is not happening, there is likely to be pressure on the city to make a few changes to improve traffic flowâ€”perhaps a new turn lane here or an extra traffic signal there. Runners and bikers need to be alert for any changes that might negatively impact our use of the trails. The most serious problem is maintaining the ability to safely cross Old Cheney Road just east of 16th Street when running on the Rock Island Trailâ€”even at rush hour. But this isnâ€™t the only issue. The current bottleneck can make crossing Old Cheney on the Jamaica North Trail a challenge. And if you are running south on Old Cheney and want to take the Jamaica North back to the Haymarket getting across 14th and Warlick on the sidewalk is also a challenge.
If any changes are proposed to this area, the city will hold open house information sessions. Go and make your voice heard! If new projects do not take into consideration pedestrian and biker access, the time to address this is before the project is started.
The Great Plains Trails Network is partnering with the 2020 Trail-a-Thon Challenge. Participants will run or walk all 78 miles of trails within the city limits. A different trail or trails will be featured each month. If you are training for a marathon, running 78 miles in 2020 may not seem like much of a challenge, but you might still consider signing up. Letâ€™s face it, if you and your running group do the same routes all the time, it is easy for your runs to become a bit stale. By attempting to do all the different trails in Lincoln your group can explore the entire city, which can add a little excitement to your route. The website provides information on the different trails, tips on parking, and so on.
The January trails include the Bison Trail (from Van Dorn Park to Pioneers Park) and the Pioneers Park Loop Trail. These trails have some of Lincolnâ€™s most interesting scenery, and the latter has some stiff hill work. For details about participating, check out the Great Plains Trails Network website. You may discover areas of Lincoln you have never visited.
â€”The Tierra-Williamsburg Trail south of Old Cheney to Pine Lake Road has been plagued with erosion and water flowing over the trail in places. In some cases drainage from yards improperly flows onto the trail. The city will address this issue in the upcoming construction season. The section of the trail that heads west toward Southpointe will probably have to be completely replaced. Construction should be completed by August, but expect some trail closures.
â€”Look for an upgrade (new gravel) on the Salt Creek Levee Trail along the stretch from the Jamaica North Trail north to the parking area and possibly up to A Street. This is being done as part of work on the levee by the Army Corps of Engineers. Again, there may be some trail closures during this process.
â€”The city is doing design work on the proposed South Haymarket Park and Plaza. The Jamaica North Trail, which currently ends at J Street, will extend through the park next to the rail lines north to Arena Drive. It will also connect with the N Street cycle way. As more people live in the Haymarket area, this will provide for nice runs south on Jamaica North and also connecting to the Salt Creek Levee Trail and the Bison Trail to Pioneers Park.
See you on the trails!