The Little Blue Trace Trail in eastern Independence is getting a little safer.

The trail runs 15.5 miles near the Little Blue River and at one point goes right through the busy commercial section of southeast Independence, passing under several busy roads. Only at one point do riders and hikers have to get across traffic. It’s where the trail crosses Missouri 78 just west of Lake City.

That’s about to change.

Jackson County, which maintains the trail, is moving ahead with plans for a new crossing.

“This improvement will allow us to go under the bridge” with the trail, said Brian Nowotny of the county’s Parks + Rec Department.

Plans call for a 10-foot-wide concrete trail under the bridge.

The County Legislature earlier this month passed an agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation, which maintains Missouri 78, to move ahead. The county has not yet let bids for the work, and the exact timetable has not been announced.

The county has set aside $333,000 for the work. More than two-thirds is from the federal Recreational Trails Program. The Federal Highway Administration received 42 requests for that funding last year, and this project was one of 10 to make the cut.