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Crews complete ‘missing link’ trail connector

By Warren Kagarise
Issaquah Press
The state Department of Transportation and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust completed a 1.25-mile trail connector last month. The piece connects the Issaquah to High Point Trail almost to the trailhead for the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail and completes a missing link in the greenway.

$4.7 million piece means no more detours for hikers

The hike from High Point to Preston is easier, or at least safer, nowadays.

Gone is the need for hikers to use tight road shoulders or turn for a nail-biting detour onto Interstate 90.

The state Department of Transportation and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust completed a 1.25-mile trail connector last month. The piece connects the Issaquah to High Point Trail almost to the trailhead for the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail and completes a missing link in the greenway.

The state spent $4.7 million to complete the link — $3.6 million transferred from a state parks account and another $1.1 million from the state Department of Transportation. State legislators approved the dollars for the trail connector in 2007.

“This major accomplishment helps fill a critical missing trail link between High Point and Preston,” Cynthia Welti, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust executive director, said in a statement. “Not only will this trail provide a safer travel option for recreationists and commuters, but it helps connect the regional trail system in the Mountains to Sound Greenway.”

The greenbelt stretches from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington.

Greenway and Department of Transportation leaders, plus REI President and CEO Sally Jewell, plan a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the connector Dec. 16.

Crews started construction on the connector project in June. The team constructed a pedestrian bridge and upgraded a former railroad trestle across the East Fork of Issaquah Creek to prevent trail users from disturbing the creek and nearby wetlands.

The project also required retaining walls to be constructed along steeper sections. The walls helped reduce the overall footprint of the trail and environmental impact.

Before the upgrades, hikers and equestrians traversing the greenway had to use the road shoulder along busy High Point Way or — for some brave souls — the shoulder along the westbound interstate.

Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Murphy said the connector should help reduce the potential for accidents between motorists and trail users.

Plans also call for the project to include shoulder upgrades along Southeast High Point Way to the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail trailhead in Preston, but funding for the improvements has yet to materialize.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

If you go

High Point to Preston trail connector opening celebration

 

  • 10:30 a.m. Dec. 16
  • The celebration is scheduled to occur at the west end of the trail, near Exit 20 along Interstate 90.
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