An extension of a hiking and biking trail in eastern Independence has been delayed again.
After more than a year of planning, construction on the Little Blue Trace Trail extension is still several months away.
The city of Independence and Jackson County have state funding to build the 3.5 mile extension of the 11-mile trail from Interstate 70 to Lee’s Summit Road but are still getting the trail plan approved by the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The trail follows the Little Blue River in Jackson County’s Little Blue Trace Park. It currently runs from Blue Mills Road in northeast Independence to its end near I-70.
County officials said last December they expected construction to begin this spring, but Tom Garland, park contract manager for Independence Parks and Recreation, said the review process just “takes a while.”
“Plans took a little bit longer than expected,” Garland said. “The review has taken some time.”
Bruce Wilke, landscape architect for Jackson County Parks and Recreation, said the design consultant used on the project has taken more time than expected on the plans.
The trail extension is a cooperative effort. Garland said Independence is in charge of making the construction drawings and the county will actually build the trail.
Wilke said once MoDOT signs off on the plans, it will take a few months for construction to begin. He said the county would have to put the project out for bids, which would take several weeks. Then it would take several weeks for the bid winner to get approval from the County Legislature and get all of the necessary paperwork completed. Wilke said realistically, the soonest construction could begin would be in the fall with the trail opening for users in the spring.
Trail plans call for about one mile of the trail extension to be a hard surface and the other 2.5 miles to be crushed rock. A parking lot will be added at the new end of the trail on the west side of Lee’s Summit Road.