The roughly $220,000 plan to significantly improve a hike-and-bike trail through southeast Lawrence is likely to wait until late fall.
A slightly larger project — a $130 million completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway — is taking precedence.
Chuck Soules, Lawrence's director of public works, said work to convert the existing Haskell rail trail that runs from 23rd Street to 29th Street from an unpaved path to a fully functioning concrete trail will be affected by a detour planned as part of the SLT construction.
"During the time we may normally be building the trail, KDOT is planning to use the area to reroute some traffic," Soules said. "We won't do construction until after the detour is done, which probably means late fall of 2014."
The new concrete trail will tie into the existing Burroughs Creek Trail, which stops at the 23rd Street overpass next to Haskell Indian Nations University. The new trail will run along the eastern edge of campus, following the path of an existing gravel trail.
Soules said work won't begin this summer because the Kansas Department of Transportation will pave a small portion of the existing trail near 29th Street to detour local traffic onto a temporary frontage road to serve area businesses. The small-scale detour will be in place while construction crews relocate Haskell Avenue near 31st Street a few hundred feet to the east as part of the SLT project.
City commissioners in December agreed to sign a grant agreement with KDOT spelling out that the state will provide about $175,000 for the project and the city will provide about $44,000 in matching funds. The city's share will come from its infrastructure sales tax fund.
The new trail, when combined with the existing Burroughs Creek Trail, will provide a continuous path from about 11th and Haskell in East Lawrence to 29th and Haskell in south Lawrence. The new trail will only be about two to three blocks shy of connecting with the new trail that will be built along the South Lawrence Trafficway.
Mark Hecker, the city's assistant director for Parks and Recreation, said the city is likely to look for grant funding to connect the two trails. Once that connection is made, the city will have a continuous trail from 11th and Haskell all the way around southern Lawrence, into west Lawrence and ending at the Lecompton turnpike interchange in far northwest Lawrence.
"It is going to be great," Hecker said. "The big trail loop around the city certainly is getting closer."