As outlined in the project approach narrative by CFS Engineers, Grain Valley residents voiced their desire in 2009 that walking trails were their most desired recreational amenity. Citizens requested pedestrian connectivity. Connecting neighborhoods to parks, schools, businesses, and amenities.
The pedestrian bridge that will be constructed over Blue Branch Creek will serve as a link in providing these connections and will be a component in the City’s overall integrated trails system. Blue Branch Creek is a natural barrier that separates the Cross Creek neighborhoods along Sni-A-Bar Drive from the schools, parks, and shopping districts.
Construction of the bridge will connect the neighborhood with Cross Creek Nature Park, Grain Valley Public Schools Campus (Sni-A-Bar Elementary and Grain Valley High School) and will facilitate improved pedestrian connectivity to the shops at Old 40 and Buckner-Tarsney as well as to Downtown Grain Valley.
Shannon Davies is the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Grain Valley. He was part of the team to apply for the grant that will help bring the pedestrian bridge to Blue Branch Creek.
“We received funding in the amount of $119,215 from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) through the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT). Myself and former Community Development Director Rick Arroyo completed the application and attended several meetings at the Mid America Regional Council (MARC) to present and provide justification on the need for this project. MARC is the organization that reviews all applications, scores them, and makes recommendations to MODOT for funding. Ours was not only one of the projects selected, but we received full funding whereas other projects may receive only partial funding,” Davies said.
“These TAP funds are specifically designed for the pedestrian bridge, not for the trails that will connect to the bridge. The bridge will be prefabricated and trucked-in on flatbed and then cranes will put the bridge sections in place. Prior to that, we will need to clear that area, construct the bridge abutments, and ready the site for the bridge itself. That’s what the TAP funds are earmarked for.”
The trail construction along Blue Brach Creek has begun. The network of adjacent trails to Blue Branch Creek will be phased in over the next 3-4 years. The recreational trails will be ten feet wide with an asphalt surface. The following is the timeline provided by Davies for all three phases.
Phase I (2019)
Completion of a stretch of trail a little over one mile in length. This section will run parallel and on the north side of Blue Branch Creek. It will connect to the existing sidewalk on Buckner-Tarsney Road (providing pedestrian connectivity to the downtown corridor) and then extend west all the way to SW Eagles Parkway.
Phase II (2020)
Installation of the pedestrian bridge over Blue Branch Creek to connect to the Phase I trail on the north side of the creek. In addition to trail construction that will provide connectivity to the Sni-A-Bar Farms neighborhoods on the south side of the creek. We are working with the school to see how/where we can connect this trail to their property that currently houses the high school campus and Sni-A-Bar Elementary.
Phase III (2021-2022)
Trail connectivity to the Sni-A-Bar Farms property that is currently owned by the City.
Blue Branch Creek Bridge Project Plan. Image credit: City of Grain Valley