Construction of the Animas River Trail underpass beneath Escalante Drive will require an additional $900,000.
The city planned to spend $400,000 to build the underpass, but $1.3 million will be needed to include ramps and retaining walls to access the underpass, rather than just a culvert as originally planned, Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz said.
The initial plan for the underpass was to build a box culvert beneath the west end of the Escalante Drive extension and close it off until other sections of the trail were complete. But at the west end of Escalante Drive, the underpass would have had conflicts with utilities, she said.
Instead, the city is using funding left over from completed Parks and Recreation projects to build a more complete underpass on the east side of Escalante Drive near Native Roots, Metz said.
The underpass beneath the planned extension of Escalante Drive between Walmart and Home Depot will be built this year by N.E. Construction, based in Lewisville, Texas, Metz said. It is the same contractor that is building the extension of Escalante Drive and a 194-unit apartment complex.
Construction is expected to be complete in spring 2018, and pedestrians will be able to use the lit underpass if they choose, she said. But it’s not likely to be popular until it is connected to the larger trail system.
The underpass will be part of the trail linking the Animas River Trail to the SMART 160 Trail, which will provide a trail connection to Three Springs when complete. Another underpass beneath U.S. Highway 550/160 is planned to connect the two trails.
The Durango City Council approved the reallocation of funds for the underpass in June.