Eugene Adding 3/4 Mile Extension to Ridgeline Trail System

Following up on a plan first proposed in 2001, the City of Eugene has finally secured funding to build a new stretch of trail as part of the Ridgeline Trail system. The new stretch will connect existing trails at the Mount Baldy area and the Amazon Headwaters area.

Safety The Key Issue

Currently, those using the Ridgeline Trail must use the shoulder of Dillard Road for roughly half a mile to get from the Mount Baldy trail to the Amazon trail. Though there haven’t been any recent accidents involving hikers, cyclists, or joggers being struck by automobiles along the stretch of Dillard Road, the most recent traffic volume study counted over 2,400 trips per day.

To access the new gravel path from the Mount Baldy end, users will have to cross Dillard Road. Presumably, the city will also install additional safety and traffic regulation measures in the area.

To Run Parallel to Dillard Road, Cross Amazon Creek

The City of Eugene purchased the 54-acre section of forestland through which the trail will pass in 2001. The preliminary designs and survey work have already been completed. Next, the city will solicit bids for trail construction. The current budget is set at $160,000, though that figure could change based on the bids received.

As designed, the new trail will run more or less parallel to Dillard Road, roughly 500-700 down the ridgeline to the west.

Photo credit: badvoodoo404 / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Photo credit: badvoodoo404 / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A section of the trail will cross over the headwaters of Amazon Creek’s east fork. After a water resource review, the city originally planned to install a bridge to span the creek. However, further review determined that a simple 45-foot boardwalk could be used instead if the crossing was moved upstream a short distance.

“At [that] point, only a boardwalk was needed,” said City of Eugene landscape architect Philip Richardson. “Going with a boardwalk [will] save us some money and [create] a more stable trail in the long run.” The boardwalk will also make it easier for the trail to meet conservation requirements.

Construction Will Begin Soon

Construction on the Ridgeline Trail system extension is planned to being as soon as August 1. Work should be completed by October 15, 2014. The city mailed notices regarding the project to area residents last week.

This story was first reported by the Eugene Register-Guard.