Ceremony signals start of Foothills Trail extension

The ground-breaking is Wednesday, June 19, at 2 p.m.

It has been a long time coming, but pavement is headed to a mile-long portion of the Foothills Trail.

King County Parks has invited the public to a ground-breaking ceremony at 2 p.m. today (Wednesday) that will serve as the formal kick-off to the project. The program, expected to last about 30 minutes, is planned for the current end of the trail on Enumclaw’s side of the White River; that’s the intersection where the trail crosses 252nd Avenue Southeast.

Attending from various levels of government will be representatives from the city of Enumclaw; Buckley Mayor Pat Johnson; Stuart Scheuerman, president of the Foothills Rails-To-Trails Coalition; and officials from the Parks Departments in both King and Pierce counties.

For the uninitiated, the popular Foothills Trail is largely a Pierce County attraction, stretching 21 miles from Buckley to just outside Puyallup. It passes through South Prairie and Orting along the way. But a much shorter portion of trail is found in Enumclaw, running parallel to state Route 410 before turning into town.

There are just two missing links that keep the trails separate. The first is the one-mile portion between 252nd and the river that, at one time, was home to railroad tracks; the second piece of the puzzle is a bridge spanning the White River.

According to King County Parks’ website, a segment of new trail (about three-fourths of a mile) will be opened for use during the fall of this year. Following that, restoration of the historic Boise Creek Bridge is set to be completed during the summer of 2020.

The trail alignment departs from the former railroad path to follow an earlier SR 410 route over Boise Creek. The highway previously crossed the river a bit upstream from the site of the current bridge. The old 410 alignment was scrapped in 1949 in favor of a newer, more modern bridge – the one still in use today.

Preliminary work was visible last week to SR 410 motorists who might have noticed work crews clearing land where pavement is headed.

With more pavement coming to the Enumclaw side, that leave just one question: when does a bridge provide the final link? The King County Parks website states a bridge is in the works for 2021.

The new bridge, like the entire trail, would be for nonmotorized traffic only. However, it will likely be built to allow for emergency vehicles; it’s seen as a way to keep police cars, fire trucks and ambulances passing over the river if something should happen to the 410 bridge.

The entire trail/bridge effort is the result of a longstanding partnership between Enumclaw, Buckley and both King and Pierce counties.

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