Trail along U.S. 93 south of Salmon receives funding

Salmon and Lemhi County get a new trail. Local officials and residents identified a need for it, and transportation authorities are making the trail a priority.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded $1.43 million to construct a five-mile trail between Salmon and Shoup Bridge. The trail will run along the west side of U.S. 93. Pictured below: Amish ride bikes on southbound U.S. 93 near Salmon.

Supported by the Idaho Transportation Department, the trail, which will be 20 feet off the highway in ITD right of way, will be 10 feet wide and have an asphalt surface. Construction is planned in 2018.

The project will add parking, a kiosk, and bike racks to the recreation site at the Shoup Bridge. The trail will be for pedestrians and cyclists.

Linda Price, who manages the Salmon Field Office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Salmon, said: "I am excited about this step in connecting Salmon residents to their public lands, and I look forward to many more connection opportunities. BLM nationally, as well as locally here in Salmon, is placing a high priority on the development of sustainable and comprehensive trail networks."

Gina Knudson, who directs Salmon Valley Stewardship, a nonprofit organization that conducted a feasibility study for the project, said: "We are thrilled that the Highway 93 trail was selected and deeply appreciate the Idaho Transportation Department going to bat for rural places like Lemhi County.

"We thoroughly examined several trail possibilities within about a 10-mile radius of Salmon, but when it came to access, a Highway 93 right-of-way trail ranked highest."

FHWA's Western Federal Lands Division awarded the grant through its Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP), which Congress established to improve transportation facilities that provide access to, are adjacent to, or are located within federal lands. Grants through FLAP supplement state and local resources for improving public roads.®

Knudson's team held public meetings for area residents, who identified the U.S. 93 right-of-way trail as an ideal opportunity to create better non-motorized access to public lands and vastly improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

"This has been a meaningful public-private partnership," said ITD District 6 Engineer Kimbol Allen. "Public agencies have worked together with private entities to further accessibility as well as safety and mobility for motorists and pedestrians."

Allen noted that construction of the trail will enable ITD to improve drainage along the five-mile stretch of highway.

Participating in trail planning were the BLM, ITD, U.S. Forest Service, Lemhi County, Salmon and the Salmon Valley Stewardship. The Western Federal Lands Division will design and construct the trail.

Salmon Valley Stewardship hopes that the "Salmon Valley Trail" eventually will include an additional 3.5-mile stretch along U.S. 93 north of Salmon.

Published 11-20-15