A bump in the trail - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

A bump in the trail

Detour concerns group; Construction firm says it has done what it can

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Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2012 12:15 am

POST FALLS - Turns out motorists aren't the only ones being slowed by the Beck Road interchange project along Interstate 90 near the state line.

Off to the side, recreation on the Centennial Trail has also been impacted on a half-mile detour.

Charlie Miller, manager for the nonprofit North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation, said a portion of the detour has resulted in more than the usual and expected inconveniences that come with major highway projects.

Miller said that he alone has heard of at least four cyclists who have had flat tires and another five who have tipped over to due a surface that isn't compact and suitable for cycling. There have been no serious injuries that he's aware of.

"We were told that there would be a compact gravel surface for the entire stretch," Miller said. "There never has been a completely uniform surface."

Miller said the contractor, Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Company of Draper, Utah, did improve over half of the detour to make it more suitable for cyclists. But a portion went uncompleted despite inquiries about it, Miller said.

Brandon Squire, project manager for the interchange, said his team has been in communication with the foundation and has tried to address its concerns.

"We were unaware that they are unhappy with our efforts and will work to improve the communication with the foundation," Squire wrote in an email.

Squire said the company compacted the detour's surface on Saturday and again on Tuesday. He said an inquiry about the trail from The Press prompted another look.

"We identified five or six small localized spots that we would like to further address and patch," Squire wrote. "We will watch this trail daily and run compaction equipment over it as necessary."

Squire encouraged the foundation to contact the contractor on site for the quickest response if it has further concerns.

The detour is necessary to construct the interchange and keep trail users safe from equipment during construction, which is expected to finish in late November, Squire said.

"We are excited to be part of this project as we think it will be a valuable enhancement to the surrounding community and support economic growth," he wrote. "We are working to complete this project as quickly as possible and restore the trail with a paved surface.

"We appreciate everyone's patience and support during construction."

Miller said the foundation was under the impression early on that the detour would be paved. When it found out that it wouldn't be, the foundation understood, but still expected a compacted surface throughout the detour.

"Unfortunately their response has been slow and not up to the standards that we hold for the trail," Miller said, adding that construction debris has also been a concern along the detour. "We've continued to work with them, but it's been a challenge to get an adequate detour route."

Miller said the foundation supports the interchange project because it is expected to lead to economic development, but the group also wants a safe trail during construction.

"Fall is a busy time on the trail, especially when it starts to cool down, and quite a few people commute to work between Liberty Lake and Post Falls on their bike," Miller said.

Despite interest from businesses in land near the freeway project and rumors of companies coming there, city officials said no new building permits have been issued for the area, which is a surprise with the interchange under construction.

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  • bjarneriis posted at 6:56 pm on Wed, Aug 29, 2012.

    bjarneriis Posts: 7

    I have ridden through the construction area numerous times on both a road and mountain bike. I think the construction crews have done an adequate job. They can't pave it for God's sake, so what's the big deal. If they're getting flats its because they dont have enough tire pressure (pinch flats), or maybe there is the rare tubular being ridden, but even they are used on cobbles in Europe. The Centennial Trail is magnificent, try living in areas that dont have this trail system. If people are falling over they shouldn't be out riding a bike, or better yet, get training wheels. Oh, and if your rims are getting bent, try buying some rims at a place other than Walmart, good rims dont bend that easy.

  • my own opinion posted at 9:01 am on Sun, Aug 26, 2012.

    my own opinion Posts: 397

    Why do people who ride bikes think all the roads for cars should be re done for them just so they can clog up ridding several wide at a time? bikes are in the way should cars go on the centennial trail?

  • thereisnozero posted at 12:24 pm on Sat, Aug 25, 2012.

    thereisnozero Posts: 26

    They could also stand to connect the Centennial Trail through Post Falls on a straight path that doesn't wind up and down through two miles of neighborhood.

  • LONEWOLFMP posted at 1:24 pm on Thu, Aug 23, 2012.

    LONEWOLFMP Posts: 46

    Glad I have been too busy to be able to ride home from Spokane...would really upset me to get a flat tire or worse, bent rims, because of a detour...

    Personally though I would just pick up my bike and walk...(even with cleats)

  • TerryG posted at 8:43 am on Thu, Aug 23, 2012.

    TerryG Posts: 5

    Trail users are staying in shape, reducing carbon emissions and conserving petroleum products. What kind of a World would we have if everybody did that? How much wear does a 20# bicycle create on a road surface compared to a jacked-up, crew cab dually that weighs 6000#.

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 8:00 am on Thu, Aug 23, 2012.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969


    They should have done the same with the trail as they do with road. CLOSE IT except for local traffic, then the crybabies could really have something to Britch about.

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