New segments continue to be added to a trail that one day could connect Durango to Bayfield, officials involved in the effort told La Plata County commissioners on Tuesday.
The project, sponsors of which include La Plata County and the city of Durango, started in the mid-'90s and aims to create a path for pedestrians and bicyclists that would run parallel to U.S. Highway 160.
Kevin Hall, parks, open space and trails development manager for the city, said most recently the Colorado Department of Transportation had included a 2,100-foot trail section through its interchange project under construction on Highway 160 near Farmington Hill.
"That's probably the most recent activity," Hall said in an interview after the meeting.
The section is being "rough graded," but a grant has been applied for to help pay the estimated $300,000 need to pave it.
Other sections that have come online are about 1,500 feet just west of Three Springs Boulevard and about 900 feet that extends west from Three Springs at the Rancho Vedado development.
The next step for the project, called SMART 160, will be analyzing the final alignment for the remaining segments to connect the Highway 160 sections with the Animas River Trail, which in the near future will run continuously through town to River Road near Home Depot. The connection will require the trail to cross Highway 160 at some point. One option being considered is a combined wildlife-human underpass at Wilson Gulch near Farmington Hill.
Next, the city will seek to obtain rights of way for the trail links. Hall said there was no specific timeline for the project, which progresses as funds become available.
In other action, the county approved an agreement with Chev-ron that will allow the company's application with the state to drill 16 infill wells southeast of Durango to proceed.
The agreement seeks to address surface impacts to the land from the drilling, which would occur on Chevron's existing pads in the area. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission still must approve the wells, and the company will have to come back to the county for permits before drilling.
Jeremiah St. Ours, whose property would be the site of one of the new wells, asked the county to include in future drilling agreements notification of affected landowners and provisions to address water well testing, private road maintenance and emergency management.