Public has until Jan. 31 to comment on Phase Two of the Northwest Trail Project

Phase two of the Northwest Trail project is highlighted in red and would continue from where the first phase left off, connecting to 13th St.

LEXINGTON — Following the construction of the first phase of the Northwest Trail project in 2018, the City of Lexington is planning on following this up with phase two and the public has the chance to comment on the project.

The existing portion of the Northwest Trail flanks the drainage canal on the north side of 20th St., before turning south, crossing Patriot Dr. and currently ends at 20th St., facing south.

Phase two would extend the trail even farther south.

“The City of Lexington has a goal of continually improving recreation opportunities for citizens,” according to information from the City of Lexington.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Recreational Trail Program grant provides the ability to leverage federal funds to help add additional segments to the City Master Trail Plan.

The proposed plan has the new portion flanking Independence Ave. before taking a sharp turn west around the homes on Liberty Dr. It would then turn south again connecting with the Optimist Recreational Complex and finally connecting to the trail along 13th St.

“The trail will tie into one section of the hike/bike trail, previously constructed, along the north right-of-way of 13th St,” information from the city stated, “The total length of the trail construction will be approximately 4,240 feet.”

Assistant City Manager Dennis Burnside said funding for this project would come from grant funds from the State of Nebraska. The extension of the trail this far wouldn’t use the entirety of grant funding, so there will be a second part to the Recreational Trails Program.

This second part would extend north from 13th St. along N. Airport Road to the Lexington Fieldhouse. Burnside said at the moment, people often walk to the fieldhouse along the side of the road, sharing it with the vehicle traffic.

When phase two is completed, a loop around the entire northwest section of the city will nearly be complete. The only part missing is a stretch just south of the Lexington High School and north of Plum Creek Park.

The reason a trail has not been built here yet, Burnside said, is due to planned water main improvements in this area. When that is completed in the future, it will allow the city to complete this leg of the trail.

The project would be constructed completely on City right-of-way, not needing to use any private ground.

The estimated cost of the project is around $350,000 and would require a minimum of 20 percent local funding, according to city information.

The rest of the cost is covered by funding from the Federal Highway Administration, channeled through the Nebraska Department of Transportation and Nebraska Game and Parks.

The grant for this was highly competitive, with 12 projects from across the state vying for the funds. Burnside went to Lincoln to make the case for Lexington’s project and was one of the four to which the grant monies were awarded.

The project itself is being designed by Miller & Associates out of Kearney. Final design and construction contractor selection will take place after environmental documents are approved

Part of the environmental survey includes comments from the public, which must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2020.

Written comments or requests can be sent to Dennis Burnside with the City of Lexington, 406 E. 7th St., P.O. Box 70, Lexington, Ne, 68850.

Burnside can also be reached by phone at 308-324-2341 or dburnside@cityoflex.com.

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