Another link in the chain for bike trail

Fruita extends path connecting Kokopelli trail to core of city

Fruita Mayor Lori Buck speaks to an audience of about three dozen people during the “Cut the Tire” bicycle tube cutting to celebrate the beginning of Fruita’s Kokopelli Section of the Colorado Riverfront Trail at the intersection of where the new trail will join the Lower Little Salt Wash Trail.

Against the backdrop of a heavy equipment machine, Fruita Mayor Lori Buck introduced the future on Thursday. By spring, Fruita officials expect to welcome cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy a 10-foot-wide concrete path that extends from the city to the Kokopelli trail head — the latest connection of the Colorado Riverfront Trail.

“At some point, imagine just being able to ride all the way from the Grand Mesa into Moab,” Buck said Thursday night at the trail’s start, off the Little Salt Wash Trail.

The $4.6 million trail will extend 4½ miles to the Kokopelli trail head, a popular mountain biking destination. The paved trail will parallel the north side of Interstate 70 and should be accompanied by a dirt single-track path.

Buck said the No. 1 wish she hears from people is their desire to ride their bike from Fruita to the trail head.

About 30 officials from Great Outdoors Colorado and other funding partners helped welcome the new trail Thursday.

Most of the funding comes from a $2 million GOCO grant. Fruita obtained $1.2 million from the Colorado Department of Transportation and $1 million from a Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant. The Colorado Riverfront Commission chipped in $160,000 and Fruita dedicated money from its Conservation Trust Fund allotment.

A first phase to extend the path two miles to 15 Road is expected to be completed in November, said Ture Nycum parks and recreation director for Fruita. The remaining 2½ miles could be completed by early spring.

“If all the stars align we’re pushing to open in April,” Nycum said.

Fruita’s ceremony included a “Cut the Tire” segment in which an inner tube was extended like a ribbon in a ribbon cutting.

Nycum said the city has used the tire cutting symbolism in the past for other events.

“It just seems to fit Fruita,” he said.

The ceremony also included a celebration of Fruita’s recent Starburst Award for construction of the Little Salt Wash Trail. The trail is just eight-tenths of a mile, but it allows non-motorized travel under Interstate 70, U.S. Highway 6 and the Union Pacific railroad, connecting north and south areas of Fruita. The Colorado Lottery offers the award to municipalities that use GOCO dollars on a project that displays creativity and provides social and economic impact on a community.


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