$1.8 million Dowd bike path still in the shop | VailDaily.com

$1.8 million Dowd bike path still in the shop

Matt Zalaznick

Negotiations are still under way between the various agencies that would have to sign off on the approximately $1.8 million project, says Elie Caryl, the county’s director of trails planning.

The path would head west from the Village at Avon Interstate 70 interchange now under construction and then run near the railroad tracks north of the Eagle River, above the Eagle-Vail commercial district, Caryl says.

“It’s a little more complex when we get to the railroad tracks and the river,” she says. “But the nice thing about this is for once we’re able to get away from Highway 6.”

Inflating the costs of construction are bridges that will have to be built across the river so the path can link up with the path that leads out of Dowd Junction and into West Vail, she says.

The Dowd section would be yet another stretch of the county’s efforts to run a path from Vail Pass to Glenwood Canyon. The trail system has the support of county officials.

“The more I understand Elie’s vision, the more I try to prioritize it,” Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi says. “More people will use these trails the faster we can get them built.”

Caryl says she hopes to build a recreation trail through the Village at Avon shopping mall. That stretch would create a link between the proposed Dowd path and those already being built in downtown Avon.

The Avon paths are already connected to paths further west that lead into Edwards.

The Dowd Junction stretch may be the most challenging portion yet of the countywide trail.

“We’ve studied all the routes and we’ve come up with the most buildable and cost-efficient.” Eagle County Commissioner Tom Stone says. “It’s a really difficult and expensive portion but it’s something we have to put in.”

Menconi says Dowd Junction isn’t the worst stretch of Highway 6 to ride. He says the most treacherous section is between Wolcott and Eagle.

“The only problem I run into in Dowd is the amount of glass,” Menconi says. “For some reason, there always seems to be broken glass on the side of the road.”

Stone admits a Dowd Junction path might not get all cyclists off to Highway 6.

“You’re never going to take the avid cyclists and put them on a trail,” he says. “They’re going to go down the highway.”

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.

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