Several people have asked me about riding to Boulder via the newly-opened US 36 Bikeway and over the past weekend I finally had time to check out the construction on the new commuter rail line that’s been creating havoc along Little Dry Creek and Clear Creek Trails for the past 2 years. What I discovered was both promising and disappointing. The good news first. The Northwest Rail B-Line is nearly complete and is scheduled to open on July 26, 2016. When all the work is complete, there will be a newly reconstructed trail along Little Dry Creek between 64th Ave and Lowell Blvd and near the intersection of 72nd Ave and Braeburn Blvd which is the north-south access between Little Dry Creek and the beginning of the US 36 bikeway. There is also going to be a new spur south of Clear Creek Trail which will take cyclists to the Federal Blvd station of the Gold Line.
The bad news: (1) the work to date on Little Dry Creek has created several hazardous underpasses that will regularly flood and for which there is no easy by-pass above the grade of the creek. When these are not flooded, they will require constant maintenance to sweep out the mud and sand that accumulates after every rain storm, and judging by current conditions, Adams County is not up to the task. (2) Even with the scheduled opening of of the B-Line, it sure does not look as if the trail between 64th and Lowell Blvd is going to open very soon. There is a lot of landscaping work still to be done between Federal and Lowell and there is also a large CDOT project reconstructing the bridge over Little Dry Creek at Federal Blvd. (3) The detour signing along the closed portions of Little Dry Creek is non-existent or inadequate. From the southeast, there are no signs indicating the trail is closed until you run smack into a concrete barrier north of 64th Ave. From the northwest there are the beginnings of a posted detour, but they led me astray, routing me south along Lowell Blvd without ever turning me east back towards Little Dry Creek. I cannot do much about (1) or (2), but I did work out a passable detour, along 64th, Irving, and 68th Ave between Lowell Blvd and the start of Little Dry Creek. It works pretty well, save the time you have to ride along 64th Ave which carries significant truck traffic. There’s also a sketcher version I checked out from Little Dry Creek Trail after the second underpass. It routes you along a dirt and gravel road to 68th Ave, then north and west across Federal to Lowell Blvd. It’s doable, but not for most cyclists.
The photo below is from the Federal Bridge looking northwest, with the new Little Dry Creek Trail beckoning.
This is the unexpected barrier you’ll encounter if you ride along Little Dry Creek expecting to be able to reach the US 36 Bikeway.
And finally, This shot shows some of the work being completed on thrnew bridge project along Federal Boulvard. That work has just begun and is not expected to be completed until July 2017. Feel free to drop the CDOT communications manager a note asking CDOT to provide and post an adequate detour around the work that CDOT is doing.
As many know, the Cherry Creek Trail at Arapahoe Road is incomplete. Trail users must use Jordan Rd to connect what is only a very short distance (.2 miles) of unfinished trail. The work requires you to ride 1.5 on busy Jordan Rd. The shot below shows the current state of affairs: trail in red (paved) or brown (dirt) and the on-street portion in blue.
CDOT is working to connect the two ends of the trail. here’s the blurb posted on the website:
In early November 2013, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) began a bridge reconstruction project on State Highway (SH) 88 over Cherry Creek in Arapahoe County, from just east of South Jordan Road to South Chambers Way.
Originally built in 1959, the existing bridge needed to be replaced with a structure that meets current standards. In addition, there will be construction on the Cherry Creek Trail. The trail will extend under Arapahoe Road, giving pedestrians and cyclists improved connectivity.
SEMA Construction Inc. of Centennial, Colorado, is the contractor for this $18 million project.
To date, the project is 25 percent complete. Work is ongoing for Phase 1,which included demolition of the south end of the bridge and the eastbound lanes, a major milestone in the project. Caissons have been drilled and work is focused on building structures, including columns, girder placement and back-filling abutments. The first phase is still on target to conclude on time, concurrent with the beginning of Phase 2 at the end of July/early August.
More than half of the floodplain expansion has been completed, and stabilization is scheduled for this month. In the coming weeks, crews will seed and landscape 50 percent of the project.
Please note: Another project will be starting in the area of SH 88, at the Jordan Road and Arapahoe Road intersection. However, this project is separate and not connected or related to SEMA Construction Inc.’s current construction. For information on this project, please call 303-419-4903.
Work began in early November 2013 and is expected to last through May 2015. Normal daytime work hours will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with weekend work when needed. Normal nighttime work hours will be Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.