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Bridging the gap on Chehalis-Western Trail in Lacey

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When I stumbled across this scene on Sunday, I thought I had come upon one of the many road construction projects in Seattle.

Bicycle-pedestrian bridge construction on Chehalis-Western Trail in Lacey

Bicycle-pedestrian bridge construction on Chehalis-Western Trail in Lacey

But no, I was in Lacey, a neighbor of Olympia. Asking around, I learned that this construction job is actually a bicycle-pedestrian bridge that will complete the final missing link in the 22-mile long Chehalis-Western Trail.

Dang. I thought it looked like it could support another Alaska Viaduct.

Final gap in Chehalis-Western Trail

Final gap in Chehalis-Western Trail

The paved rail-trail stretches north-south across Thurston County from Woodard Bay on the Puget Sound to an intersection with the 14.5-mile Yelm-Tenino Trail to the south.

While the railroad right-of-way was acquired in the 1980s and 1990s, a couple of trail interruptions in Lacey — about midpoint on the trail — sent trail users onto side streets and across busy highways.

An $8.4 million project in three parts is solving that problem.

The first project was a bicycle-pedestrian bridge over Interstate 5, completed in 2007. The second project was a crossing over Martin Way to the north.


This third project is this bicycle-pedestrian bridge over Pacific Avenue. The bridge slope starts near the intersection with the Woodland Trail (which rolls between Olympia and Lacey), crosses the street, then goes back to the trail grade behind a shopping center.

The bridge project began in December and is expected to be completed in 15 months at a cost of $2.6 million, according to The Olympian newspaper.

The project will improve a trail that draws hundreds of residents on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2014/04/14/bridging-the-gap-on-chehalis-western-trail-in-lacey/

1 comment

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  1. Geronimo

    The crossing over Pacific Avenue will be great – it avoids riding half a block to the signal and back. It won’t be the end of what’s needed, though. There is a crossing of Rainier Rd. SE & a railroad track approximately 5 miles S of Pacific that is unnecessary and dangerous and which involves the only gravel section of the trail. I’ve been waiting for years to see an underpass under the tracks that would eliminate the road crossing and maintain the trail grade – and it would cost a whole lot less than $2.6 million.

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