Stretch of Dowd Junction bike path opens Thursday |

Stretch of Dowd Junction bike path opens Thursday

Daily Staff Report
Special to the DailyA stretch of bike path running from Dowd Junction into Eagle-Vail that will open Thursday afternoon will give cyclists a place to ride other than the narrow shoulder of U.S. Highway 6. The path, shown above, runs between the river and the highway.

The newest stretch of bike path in the valley will open Thursday afternoon. The trail, part of a network planned to someday link Glenwood Canyon to Vail Pass, begins at the recreation bridge that carries a path out of West Vail and across the Eagle River into Dowd Junction. It then winds along the river into Eagle-Vail and links up with U.S. Highway 6 in Eagle-Vail at the bus stop at the top of the access road to the Kayak Crossing and River Run apartments. “This trail is the product of a committed partnership and a great deal of hard work,” said Dick Cleveland, a Vail town councilman and chairman of the ECO Eagle Valley Trails Committee, which recommends how the trails portion of the regional transportation tax is spent.

“There were many partners working together to fund, permit, design and build this project,” he said. Construction should begin next year on a path that will travel the remaining distance from the Kayak Crossing/River Run bus stop to Avon. Elie Caryl of ECO Trails said construction of the $1.8 million Dowd Junction path included some fairly complicated work, including the building of 13 retaining walls of varying sizes; stabilizing the soils in Dowd Junction; replacing a leaky irrigation pipe a portion of the trail travels over; railings for to control access to the riverbanks; and reconstructing sections of railroad track. “This was one of the two most difficult sections in the entire planned 45-mile system and it was an expensive proposition given the very constrained terrain we had to work with,” Cleveland said. “There wasn’t much room between the two highways, river and railroad but this trail provides an alternative to traveling by bike or foot in the Highway 6 road shoulder which is very busy through Dowd Junction.”

The other most difficult area to build a bike path is Gilman, between Red Cliff and Minturn, Cleveland said. The trail was funded by county sales tax, the Eagle County Board of County Commissioners, the Eagle County Regional Transportation Authority, the ECO Eagle Valley Trails Committee, the State of Colorado Trails Program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Sonnenalp of Vail Foundation. Recreational ribbon cutting

What: Opening of Dowd Junction bike path Where: Approximately 1,500 feet west of the Dowd Junction pedestrian bridge. When: 4 p.m. More info: For more information about the bike path project or Thursday’s ceremony, call ECO Trails at 328-3523.

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