MOORHEAD — A bid for a new 2-mile stretch of a shared-use pathway mostly along the Red River in Moorhead has been approved.
The low bid of $749,940 from a Minnesota company has been accepted to do a 10-foot-wide concrete pathway mostly on top of flood levees from Gooseberry Park to 40th Avenue South.
Work is expected to start as soon as other officials sign off on the project as almost half of the trail is being paid for with federal funds. The pathway should be completed this year.
"We're super excited about it," said Assistant City Engineer Tom Trowbridge. "There will be some really nice views of the river along the path."
Trowbridge has already seen some families biking and walking on top of the levies.
There will be a few sections of the handicapped-accessible trail that will be along the roadway or on boulevards.
One of those sections is under the Interstate 94 bridge. Another roadway stretch will involve signing, striping and crosswalk improvements from 32nd Avenue South to 40th Avenue South, which Trowbridge said is a fairly quiet neighborhood area with low traffic volume.
That new section of trail on the south end will connect with a concrete and blacktop pathway that already exists from the Bluestem Center for the Arts in far south Moorhead, thus the name of the new trail — Blue Goose Trail, because it also connects to Gooseberry Park.
Eventually, the trail will run the length of the city from north to south from Oakport in the far north all the way south to 60th Avenue, which is about a mile south of the Bluestem amphitheater.
Most of that trail is already in place, and this new stretch is a key part of the expansion.
Once the Blue Goose Trail is completed, the city will then concentrate on two final stretches of the shared-use pathway.
Trowbridge said applications have already been submitted for funding for the final two stretches.
One is called the Midtown Trail, which will run from Gooseberry Park to Woodlawn Park, or from 22nd Avenue South to Sixth Avenue South, and connect with the trail that already runs along the river downtown.
The other is called the Harvest Trail, which will run from Bluestem to the south and connect with the east-west 60th Avenue highway that then crosses on a bridge over the Red River into Fargo and meets up with 52nd Avenue South.
Trowbridge said the hope is to construct concrete barrier protection on the Red River bridge and then connect with shared-use pathways in Fargo. The city has also been working with Clay County on that portion of the project.
If Moorhead receives funds from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Legacy Fund for the other two sections of the trail they might be completed in the next few years. Trowbridge said federal funding can take up to five years to be allocated, noting that the city received approval for the Blue Goose Trail from the feds in 2015.
In addition to the federal funds for this year's trail project, the rest of the financing is coming from city funds, mostly from leftover flood protection project monies.
The low bidder from among five bidders was Ti-Zack Concrete Inc. of Le Center, Minn.
Although the bid was about 20%, or about $123,000, higher than estimates, the city staff recommended accepting it as contractors said the higher bids were because of the difficulty of access to the work area on top of the levee instead of being immediately adjacent to a paved roadway.
Also adding to the cost, the pathway has to go around two homes that are still in the flood zone.
The highest bid came in at almost $1 million.