One of the Eastside’s most utilized recreation and alternative commuting corridors moved one step closer to completion Wednesday.
Representatives from the city of Issaquah, King County Council, King County Parks, Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition and Cascade Bicycle Club joined a few dozen citizens for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially reopen the Issaquah segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail after it had been closed for more than a year for upgrades.
“This has been a marvelous partnership,” Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger said. “I hear from citizens all the time wondering when the trail will reopen.”
Those who came to the ceremony or use the trail in the coming weeks and months will notice a number of changes, most noticeably the paved surface and improved fencing and landscaping along its sides.
Issaquah resident Bob Schlesinger, who moved to the city after the trail closed last year, said he has utilized other sections of the East Lake Sammamish and Burke-Gilman trails to ride his bike, but is especially excited for the reopening of the Issaquah stretch.
“It goes right past where I live, so no more putting the bike on the car,” he said. “I like being off the road away from the traffic, not having that noise and danger.”
After closing in May of last year, a contracting firm worked to construct earthen walls, improve grading, build fencing and eventually pave the trail to replace the crushed rock surface, which now forms a two-foot wide soft surface shoulder on either side.
The stretch from Gilman Boulevard to SE 43rd Way was the second phase of a multi-year development plan that began with a 1.2 segment of the trail running through Redmond. A seven-mile segment running from NE 187th St. to SE 43rd St. is slated to begin construction in early 2014.
Split fencing, landscaping along the sides and a two-foot wide soft surface shoulder on both sides of the newly opened segment were all part of the improvements. JOSH SUMAN, ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER
A couple share a walk just after the trail reopened on Wednesday. JOSH SUMAN, ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER
Grading along the sides of the trails was an important part of the project. JOSH SUMAN, ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER
A sizable crowd was gathered to hear speakers, including Joe Platzner of Cascade Bicycle Club. JOSH SUMAN, ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER