Category: Trails | Tags: South Omaha Trail
The final 1.5 miles connecting the South Omaha Trail to the Field Club Trail is scheduled to be completed by February 2016, though with good weather, December 2015 is a likely opening date. The initial phase from Karen Park and the Keystone Trail to 45th St and G St was completed a couple years ago. Unfortunately, the City of Omaha never budgeted for completing this crucial link between the Keystone Trail and Midtown/Downtown Omaha. Fortunately, we can thank the Papio-Missouri NRD and District 6 Jim Thompson for stepping up to the plate and providing $5M of the people’s money to complete this multi-user infrastructure for human powered movement.
A snip from the Omaha Bikes Bike Route Map reveals the extent of the trail under construction in orange.
The blue prints have broken the construction into 10 zones labeled A-J.
Current East terminus at 45th and G St.
The trail up to the F St bridge is approximately Zone A. Though little grade work needs to be done, ‘A’ will be the last zone to be completed before opening the trail. The zones will be worked on independent from one another. In other words, the trail will not be constructed from zone A-J in a linear fashion.
Zone B has a steep embankment on the South-East side of the trail.
The previous picture is looking down about a 30′ drop to the bottom. The dashed line in the blue print below is current grade, the solid black line is final trail grade. Approximately 15′ of dirt from where I was standing in the previous picture will be pushed into the low area to bring that up to final grade, in addition to many cubic yards of dirt. The final grade up and down this zone is about 5%.
Now we are in Zone C and near the 42nd St overpass. There will be a retaining wall and fence on both sides of the trail where it parallels the railroad track.
This is where the trail will come on the former storage area. A parking lot trailhead will have room for 6-7 cars.
At this point, the trail crosses to the South side of D St. This is the entrance to a concrete recycling plant. Large trucks on to and off of D St. There are good sight lines. The trucks slow down to turn in and stop before pulling out. The trail will have a stop sign and trail traffic will yield to D St traffic.
D St’s south curb will be move north 5′. The trail will narrow from 10′ to 8′ along D St so property owner’s will loose no property. A wooden fence will separate the trail from property owners to the south.
At this point, we enter zone F where the trail returns to 10′ wide, a retaining wall with fence will be constructed on the south side at the beginning and end, while dirt will be brought in for a 1 to 3 shoulder grade to the north.
This is the middle section at the end of 36th Ave where there will be no retaining wall.
The next two pictures show the general area for the 90 degree turn along side 36th St.
Going north along 36th St.
At this point, the trail will narrow to 4′ and use the sidewalk on the bridge. The rules will state that people must dismount and walk bike by one another. Very precise driving between two people biking could pass. The choice I will consider is to check traffic on 36th St prior to the parking sign and then jump into the northbound lane before the water basin and view of south bound traffic is restricted.
Concrete recycle plant to the west. At this point, one will really notice the noise from the plant and I-80 from here to the grain elevator.
The trail will have stop signs for trail users before crossing 36th St. One must check traffic carefully. I believe the speed limit is 35 mph but cars going north down the hill onto the bridge and over tend to be going faster and are slightly hidden because the bridge bows up in the middle and hides cars farther south. This is another reason to have jumped onto the north going lane before the bridge. You have possession of the lane and can signal slowing and right turn at the trail crossing.
Zone H has the steepest grade of any zone – 9% down to the flat. The trail will have fence on both sides through this zone, probably something like the section at the west end of the South Omaha Trail going around the Kiewit construction lot.
The construction right of way is between the tires of the trailer left to the end of the fence. I took a poor picture of the blue prints above so I am guessing the the trail will be along the I-80 side.
I did not study the blue prints before shooting the pictures. As you notice, zone I has the trail going south before heading north under the bridge. All my pictures going down to the tracks will be left of the trail.
Notice on the grade lines, about 18 feet of dirt is being brought in so a continual 5% grade will take one down to the underpass.
Zone J goes from the underpass, along the grain elevators to Vinton St and the current south terminus of the Field Club Trail. I would guess that the underpass will be where the trail changes names.
And a final look south through the underpass. Maybe you can make out the work of aspiring artists in the area.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of the South Omaha Trail connection from the Keystone Trial to the Field Club Trail. There are only three at-grade street crossings – 60th St with the Hawk light, D St, and 36th St. For those who want to get downtown with the least interaction with motor vehicles and the least hill climbing, the South Omaha Trail will be our best option!