A project to connect part of the city’s existing network of pedestrian pathways from the northeastern side of town southeastward to the Field of Dreams softball and baseball complex could end up costing about $3 million.
It probably would be best to do the project in phases, Engineering Director Dustin Hamilton told City Council members last week.
All three routes have to cross Interstate 90, which easily breaks every leg of every option into three phases.
Along a different route not described in a recent study showing some different options, there’s a sidewalk that people could take that runs the length of Butler Spaeth and ties into Boxelder Road. To the east, it runs unobstructed to a point adjacent to the Field of Dreams.
But that existing pathway isn’t very scenic, particularly along that stretch of sidewalk on Boxelder where there isn’t much to see beyond the busy street and acres of desolate fields of dirt.
The city was presented with three options for how to build a new pathway that would connect these points. Some of those options would cost more but could also offer more in terms of scenery and connectivity, while others will cost less but also offer less in that regard.
All the paths start at Butler Spaeth Road and East Sixth Street, cross Interstate 90 (albeit some at different points) and run to the new softball and baseball fields at the Field of Dreams on Boxelder Road.
Heading east from that starting point, they all take wildly different routes, yet they all meet at the same point near those forthcoming athletic fields
Phase 1: The beginning
1A: $1.11 million. The path could be installed along the bottom of a 5-foot-deep drainage channel running the length of the Sierra Glenn Subdivision. This trail would end when it reached the box culverts at the end of the channel, where the water goes under Interstate 90.
The path would have to be raised 18 inches from the drainage channel bed in order to keep the path out of the water that runs through or sits stagnant in what will continue to be, an active storm channel.
This will help keep the path out of the water. But a storm could bring rain that engulfs the pathway, even filling up the channel with water flowing as high as 2 feet about every two years, according to data gathered for the study,
“We looked at that and said that probably wouldn’t be the most desirable place to put a pathway,” Hamilton said.
1B: $923,936. It could start at Highway 14-16 and head east from Butler Spaeth to I-90, where it would cross below the busy highway through an underpass.
The shoulder isn’t wide enough along that stretch of Highway 14-16. If the city replaces the grass-lined drainage ditch running along the shoulder with a buried box culvert system, the path could run on top of that, but it would drive up costs.
1C: $969,826. It could run east along Sixth Street to Stetson Drive, where it would then cut north to Highway 14-16, just west of the I-90 on and off ramps. From Boxelder Road, it would head toward the interstate, intending on crossing there through the underpass.
Phase 2: Crossing the Interstate
Crossing 1: $522,000. If the city decides to build the path through the bottom of the drainage channel, the study says the pedestrian path could continue on through existing box culverts at the end of that section, where the water from Stonepile Creek travels under I-90.
Design standards call for a minimum of 8 feet of clearance for underpass structures for multi-use pathways, so the study suggests raising the top of one of the culverts by 2 feet so a pedestrian tunnel could go underneath the interstate there.
The stability of the box culvert structure itself is also questionable, the study said. So it suggests the city add an entirely new box structure next to the existing culvert.
The study says that both digging a new tunnel and retrofitting the existing culvert would require significant work — including open-cut excavation across I-90 — and there would have to be single lane closure on the interstate at times during the work.
Wyoming Department of Transportation officials were not enthusiastic about that approach, the study said, so it is considered an unlikely solution.
Crossing 2: $790,250. Instead of burrowing through I-90, the path through the drainage ditch could also veer southwest, exiting out of the concrete structure then follow along parallel to Butler Spaeth.
It would then connect to an existing asphalt pathway that would use an existing I-90 underpass at Butler Spaeth.
After it crosses I-90, it’s not too far from the Field of Dreams. But the consultants suggest the pathway should then double back in the direction it came from, but on the other side of the interstate. This segment of the pathway ends about where it started, only on the east side of the interstate, where water comes out the other end of the box culverts the route avoided burrowing through.
Crossing 3: $288,080. If the city decides not to put the pathway inside Stonepile Creek drainage ditch for the first leg of the path and instead uses either of the two options that send the pathway along Highway 14-16 to I-90, that’s exactly where those two options would cross — through the existing space along that road underneath the interstate.
Phase 3: From I-90 to Boxelder Road
Pathway 2A: $482,456. It follows Stonepile Creek to the Field of Dreams whether the path goes under or all the way around I-90 and doubles back.
Pathway 2B: $1.1 million. Beginning on U.S. Highway 14-16, east of the I-90 underpass, then heading east less than half a block, cutting south on the mostly-unpaved Axel’s Avenue. The study says this option would only make sense if the city decides to extend Axel’s Avenue from Highway 14-16 and connect it with Garner Lake Road, which has been proposed in the past. But it would add $694,720 to the price. This part of the pathway is more rural so there is less traffic and it’s a bit more scenic. And it would run the length of Cam-plex Park. The city also could send the pathway southwest from Axel’s Avenue near the entrance of Cam-plex Park and connect with the path along Stonepile Creek, through a rolling field of wild grass, following it all the way to that same ending point at Boxelder Road and the Field of Dreams.
Pathway 2C: $1.1 million. It would have the same beginning as 2B, but then the path could hug the eastern edge of the interstate on-ramp and then continue hugging the interstate to the point where Stonepile Creek connects with the creek just east of the box culverts. Then it would follow Stonepile Creek to the same ending point.
The pathway study was compiled for the city by Morrison Maierle.
The consultants’ opinion is that the best route for the pathway goes up East Sixth Street to Highway 14-16 then along U.S. Highway 14-16 until it would go under the I-90 under underpass. From the other side of the interstate, the firm suggests the city put the path down Axel’s Avenue, where it will connect to the pathway system at Cam-plex and from there make its way south toward Stonepile Creek to Boxelder Road.
The combined estimated total cost to install the path along that trajectory is $2.3 million.