Growing the Greenbelt 

Alternate routes

Parts of the Greenbelt will be closed September through October for improvements.

Kelsey Hawes

Parts of the Greenbelt will be closed September through October for improvements.

Greenbelt users will need to find a new route from the Fairview Avenue underpass to Riverside Park during the next two months.

The stretch of Greenbelt is closed to remove and replace the asphalt with a more durable and smooth concrete surface. Work will take place on the north side of the river next to the firefighter memorial, but also includes a new plan to separate bike and foot traffic at the trestle bridge further east.

"There's issues with sight lines," said Kelly Burrows, development coordinator at the Boise Parks and Recreation Department. "Right now, you can't see around the corner underneath that bridge, so if someone is standing there and you have a bike coming along, it's a dangerous situation."

Bike traffic will need to stay on the path around the bridge, and pedestrians will travel under the bridge--similar to the separation at the tunnel near the end of Shoreline Drive.

This project hasn't been the easiest one to coordinate. Originally set to begin in mid-August, it was pushed back due to funding. The improvements will cost an estimated $187,870, with the contract awarded to Eagle-based building company Wright Brothers--the same firm that built the Albertsons (former Bronco) Stadium expansion, Eagle Heritage Park and Elk's Rehabilitation Center.

Footing the bill wasn't the only challenge.

"We were struggling to find detours and alternate routes that are safe," said Amy Stahl, communications director for Parks and Rec. "We're lacking some sidewalks and that creates a problem."

To get to the Boise Bench, detours will follow the Americana Bridge up the hill and along Houston Road and Irving Street. Because the bike lanes stop short of the hill on Americana, cyclists will be urged to ride on the sidewalk.

To continue on the Greenbelt westbound, the cyclists will move along 27th Street.

The detour would be easier if the Greenbelt continuously followed the south bank of the river, but there's a gap from Americana Bridge to the Garden City Greenbelt. It's a gap the Boise City Council decided to close during an afternoon work session on July 29.

The project to fill in three-quarters of a mile has been in the works for the past 15 years. It'll cost a projected $2.35 million, mostly from federal and local grants.

The expansion will include two new underpasses at the Main Street and Fairview Avenue bridges, along with a pedestrian bridge over Settlers Irrigation Canal.

Construction isn't slated to begin until fall 2015 and will extend into 2016.

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