Bikeways.

Idaho Canal Trail construction partway done

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Idaho Falls residents have a new way to get around town.

City leaders on Thursday celebrated the end of the first of two construction phases for the Idaho Canal Trail, a more than $1 million project to build a paved asphalt pathway along the canal in town.

“We’ve got three miles of brand new pathway that we want to encourage the community to go out and utilize however they see fit,” said Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department Director PJ Holm.

The path runs from Lovejoy Street near Pinecrest Golf Course, before winding alongside the canal, past Linden Park Elementary School and down to 14th Street, eventually ending on Holmes Avenue by 25th Street, Holm told the Post Register in a phone interview.

Holm said trail construction is a never-ending project.

“There are miles and miles of trail possibility throughout the city of Idaho Falls, so really the phases are going to be based off of funding and funding possibilities,” Holm said.

Depending on grant funding, he said the city hopes to soon begin on another construction phase to build the trail along the Meppen Canal to connect with bike paths in Ammon. He said he hopes that phase will be complete within two years.

“We’re really excited for that phase because it will connect lots of communities in the heart of Idaho Falls,” Holm said.

The project plan says that eventually the trail will run from Iona Road to Tautphaus Park, the Post Register previously reported. Holm said he even hoped it could eventually connect to Shelley.

“Depending on future funding and local priorities, this trail could ultimately extend further to the north or south,” the project plan states. “This canal provides an important north-south link through Idaho Falls, connecting many other potential trail corridors and on-street bikeways.”

Construction began on the project this June. Most sections of the pathway will be about 10 feet wide, similar to pathways along the downtown greenbelt.

“As we continue to grow and sprawl through the valley, this is something that we want to see continue and built into the infrastructure that happens as we grow,” Holm said. “We want to see bike paths for good connection and great safety for pedestrians and bicyclists in our community. No matter how big we get, and no matter how far we grow, we want to connect that with trails and pathways.”

Reporter Kyle Pfannenstiel can be reached at 208-542-6754. Follow him on Twitter: @pfannyyy. He is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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