The trail, funded by a combination of Federal, state and regional sources, has been a long time coming. So many people have worked to advocate for this trail over many years, and King County successfully stood up to several legal challenges from trail opponents.
The southernmost and northernmost sections of the trail are already completed, and they are very high quality. The trail serves a transportation purpose, but it also provides people access to public spaces along the lake.
The existing gravel trail will be closed during construction, and people biking will be detoured to E Lake Sammamish Pkwy, which has decent paved shoulders. The work will take a year to complete for this segment, but the total period of construction will likely be longer once work on the final segment gets under way.
The final 3.6-mile section of trail is still in the design phase, and “construction [is] expected to begin when permitting and design are complete,” according to a King County press release:
Upgrades are coming to another segment of King County’s East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST), as crews begin work to convert a 1.3-mile stretch of the trail through Sammamish from a gravel-topped interim trail into a master planned paved trail that is wider, safer, and offers more amenities for trail users.
In order to ensure safety of the public and construction workers, the ELST will be closed from Southeast 43rd Way to Southeast 33rd Street beginning Monday, Dec. 19. The closure is expected to last for about 12 months, when there will be no public access along this trail segment, also known as “South Sammamish A.”
East Lake Sammamish Parkway, which runs parallel to the ELST, features bike lanes and sidewalks for people who want to travel around the closed trail stretch. Want to explore other King County trails in the area? Try the new TrailFinder website, which offers detailed information about local regional trails, plus miles of nearby backcountry trails. Check out TrailFinder at http://gismaps.kingcounty.gov/TrailFinder/.
Work planned along the closed stretch of the ELST includes removing the existing interim gravel trail surface and constructing an 18-foot-wide trail comprised of a 12-foot-wide asphalt surface with 3-foot-wide gravel shoulders on each side of the paved pathway, installing concrete sidewalk connections, retaining walls, fencing and signage, plus wetland mitigation planting and landscaping.
The trail will be made safer by improved sightlines, enhanced intersections, and improved drainage.
The $10.5 million total project cost is funded in part by the 2014-19 Parks, Trails, and Open Space Replacement Levy in addition to $1.25 million in grant funding from federal and state sources.
The final portion of the ELST that will be redeveloped from an interim soft-surface trail to a paved regional trail is the 3.6-mile-long stretch from Southeast 33rd Street to Inglewood Hill Road, known as “South Sammamish B.” This segment is currently in design, with construction expected to begin when permitting and design are complete.
Design and construction of South Sammamish segments A and B will continue to adhere to agreements made during the planning phase to provide a safe, multi-use regional trail for bicyclists, pedestrians, joggers, skaters, strollers, wheelchairs, and users of all ages and abilities.
King County purchased the 11-mile-long East Lake Sammamish rail banked corridor in 1998. An interim soft-surface trail opened for public use in 2006.
The ELST follows a historic railroad route along the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish within the cities of Redmond, Sammamish and Issaquah. Part of the “Locks to Lakes Corridor,” the trail follows an off-road corridor along the lake and through lakeside communities.
Once the ELST is fully developed, it will be part of a 44-mile-long regional urban trail corridor from Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood to Issaquah. More information is available at www.kingcounty.gov/eastlakesammamishtrail.