Bridging the 3.6-mile gap in Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail is the next big project for the city of Bellevue, and it’s planned to begin this year.
The Mountains to Sound Greenway trail runs from the Seattle waterfront all the way out to Ellensburg, providing an accessible route for pedestrians and bikers to travel through the Eastside. However, there is a 3.6-mile gap in the trail in the city of Bellevue from Interstate 405 to Southwest Lakemont Boulevard. City staff, along with partners at Mountains to Sound Greenway, have been working to connect the missing trail.
Project manager Chris Masek said the trail project will connect the gap through construction of new pathways. Planning for the work began in 2012, when the first planning study was conducted, he said.
The project is divided into three sections, the first traveling along Interstate 90 from I-405 to 132nd Avenue Southeast. The 3,000-foot long segment will feature a tunnel underneath the I-90/I-405 ramp, as well as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge above Factoria Boulevard to keep people away from the high-traffic area. Masek also said some alterations to the trail will also create an opportunity to expand traffic capacity at the intersection of Factoria Boulevard and I-90.
Increasing safety for pedestrians and bikers is one of the most important elements of the project. Keeping them separate with the new bridge will be a key element, he said.
“It provides a safe place where people could ride and walk that doesn’t exist today,” he said.
According to Masek, the project cost will come in at $17.7 million, the majority of which was funded by a $14 million grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Connecting Washington funding program.
The city is tentatively planning to start construction this summer, but still is working on some property acquisitions along the project path. If construction begins this summer the city expects the first segment to be complete by Fall 2020, an 18-month construction period.
As for the remaining two segments, Masek said some design work has been done, but at this point the city and Mountains to Sound Greenway have not yet funded those construction costs.