A 1.3-mile section of the East Lake Sammamish Trail will be closed for 12 months beginning next week.
King County is closing the trail segment north of Lake Sammamish State Park so construction crews can pave and widen the trail between Southeast 43rd Way to Southeast 33rd Street.
Bicyclists and walkers will have to use the bike lane on the shoulder of East Lake Sammamish Boulevard to get around the construction.
The abandoned railroad right-of-way opened as a crushed stone path in 2006, running for 11 miles between Redmond and Issaquah.
Six miles of the trail at the northern and southern ends have been paved and upgraded to national standards for safety. In addition to 12 feet of asphalt, a trail cross-section includes 2-foot-wide soft shoulders and another foot of clearance on each side.
When the 1.3-mile section is complete, only a 3.6-mile segment from Southeast 33rd Street to Inglewood Hill Road — called South Sammamish Segment B — will remain to be upgraded.
The one-year timetable, which begins with the closing on Dec. 19, allows crews to work at an average rate of 132 feet per week.
King County calls the East Lake Sammamish Trail an “11-mile missing link” in a 44-mile-long regional trail corridor that includes the Burke Gilman Trail, the Sammamish River Trail, the Marymoor Connector Trail and the Issaquah Preston Trail.
Although the county calls it a “missing link,” it’s clearly not missing. The gravel and paved portions are in continuous use and motor vehicles cannot use it, unlike the horrendous 1.2-mile Burke Gilman Trail missing link on the streets of Ballard.
The trail network actually runs for 53 miles from Golden Gardens Park on Puget Sound to a chain link fence blocking the Preston Snoqualmie Trail on the outskirts of the town of Snoqualmie. The only interruptions are the Burke Gilman missing link in Ballard and the construction site in Sammamish.
The start of construction on the segment was delayed for at least a year after neighbors balked at the scope of the trail project, which included removal of numerous trees.