WEST HAVEN — They may look like bridges to nowhere now, but two new spans over the Weber River will soon provide access to a new extension of the Weber and Ogden river trail system.
Thanks in large part to a grant from Weber County’s Recreation, Arts, Museums and Parks tax fund, a paved trail beginning just west of I-15 on the Weber River stretching west past 1900 West is currently scheduled to open around the end of June.
Travelers can see the new pedestrian/cycling bridges, molded after existing ones on the current trail system, from I-15 and 1900 West near 12th Street. The project, with a total cost of about $800,000, is being funded by the cities of West Haven and Marriott-Slaterville, matching funds from the RAMP grant secured last year, and various individual and business sponsors.
The city was hoping to start the project last year, but extensive damage caused by flooding late last spring and early summer postponed the work, said Dawnell Musselman, the West Haven city council member who oversees trails and related activities.
Along with the RAMP grant, Musselman said the project was made possible by landowners who donated land to provide an easement for the new trail segment.
“They were really good in working with us and donating for the cause,” she said.
Another bridge over the Ogden River just upstream from the confluence of the two rivers is slated to open soon and will provide access to Marriott-Slaterville.
The West Haven River Parkway project started in 1994 as part of the overall Centennial Trail System that currently extends from the mouth of Ogden Canyon to the confluence, then up the Weber River to Riverdale. The West Haven spur currently ends at the I-15 underpass.
The master plan for the Centennial Trail calls for an approximately 30-mile loop around the Ogden area that runs to the mouth of Weber Canyon and connects with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail along Ogden’s east bench, continuing north to Ogden Canyon.
A major milestone came to pass two years ago, when the opening of an underpass at the railroad tracks south of Fort Buenaventura marked the completion of an uninterrupted urban trail running from Ogden Canyon to Riverdale.
More recently, a two-mile corridor extending from the Riverdale Parkway to the Uintah Bridge has been acquired. With a pedestrian bridge crossing the river near the Riverdale City limits, the trail will continue on the south side to the Adams Avenue Parkway. From there, it will follow along Cottonwood Drive to the Uintah Bridge. Weber Pathways has the goal of completing that section sometime this year.
The last section to the mouth of Weber Canyon, however, will be a significant challenge due to obstacles such as railways, I-84, Highway 89, and a hodgepodge of government-owned and private land, said Jay Hudson, the originator of the Centennial Trail loop concept.
“These things take a long time,” Hudson said. “I’ll be buried in the ground by the time it’s done.”
In the meantime, he said, the various entities involved are trying to create a trail that will connect with the Ogden FrontRunner station, planning to place covered wooden structures over the river bridges, and working to find ways to get people living next to the trails, among other things.
“When people put their imaginations to work, there are all kinds of things we can do,” he said. “It just takes money.”