Hikers and bikers soon will gain easier access to vast beauty atop Sanders Mound, which overlooks Clinton Lake, and a connection to some of the state's best dirt trails.
Lawrence resident Eric Nelson, who commutes to work by bicycle and is a mountain biker, said he was looking forward to hitting the new trails.
"I'm excited to be able to shoot right off the concrete trail onto the dirt trails. I think it's going to be a great addition to the trail system," said Nelson, cross-country coach at Bishop Seabury Academy.
Work is expected to be complete this week on a one-mile concrete trail near the base of Sanders Mound.
The new trail will serve as a connection to the 11-mile South Lawrence Trafficway cement trail.
In addition, one dirt trail will be made to curve up the east side of the mound while another will connect to the 23-mile North Shore Trails by Clinton Lake. They will replace several improvised trails, which increase erosion. The Army Corps of Engineers plans to restore the area alongside the trails with natural grasses.
There also will be a couple of benches, a kiosk, signage and several flat rest areas for people with disabilities.
Topeka-based Graybeal Construction Inc. has spent the last month working on the concrete trail, which was provided through a $171,000 federal grant. The cost of the complete project is $220,000. The difference was paid for by the Army Corps of Engineers, the city's Parks and Recreation and the Kansas Trails Council.
Mike Goodwin, president of the all-volunteer Kansas Trails Council, estimated that 100,000people would use the new trails each year.
Goodwin said the concrete trail is open to the public but that construction vehicles are still in use. He said there would be an official reopening by year's end.
For Dan Brobst, president of the 80-member Lawrence Mountain Bike Club, it provides a good connection between trails that are already at Clinton Lake.
And it also will allow outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy Clinton Lake more.
"It's a great view," Brobst said. "It will definitely provide a better trail for people to enjoy Sanders Mound."