HEYBURN — The city has started work to expand its walking path to connect the Riverside RV Park to 21st Street.
“We are really happy to see progress happening with it,” Heyburn City Councilwoman Joanne Justesen said.
The path will travel northwest from the Burley-Heyburn Bridge along O Street and connect to the sidewalk at 21st Street. Heyburn’s sidewalks on 21st Street end at Z Street at the edge of the city limits and North Burley.
People can then continue walking at the edge of the road to the sidewalk in front of Walmart and turn south at Overland Avenue to cross the bridge and tie into Burley’s greenbelt path, Justesen said.
“The new section will also connect 21st Street to the school system, which will allow for safer travel,” she said.
City Administrator Tony Morley said the safety aspect of the project was a big draw for the city because many children walk on O Street, which does not have sidewalks, to and from the elementary school.
The original bid for the project came in at $441,410, which — even with an Idaho Department of Transportation grant — was too expensive for the city, Morley said. The city had the options of rebidding the project even though construction costs continue to rise, walking away from the project, or scaling down the project.
“The city had to streamline the project to bring costs down,” Justesen said. ITD will chip in $290,000 in grant money and the city will pay $35,000.
The city narrowed the path to 6 feet and eliminated some of the traffic control costs by using the city’s street department, she said. It also removed a couple of elm trees that were on the route on O Street near 21st Street.
Burley still has a section of its greenbelt to complete that will tie the Overland Bridge to the Bedke boat ramps. The city will then continue building the path east to the Burley-Heyburn Bridge, which will connect with Heyburn’s paths on the other side of the Snake River and a completed greenbelt section along the River’s Edge Golf Course.
One day the city’s two paths will create a 10-mile loop.
Morley said the path project complements Heyburn’s long-range plans and the city will look at whether it’s feasible to create more walking and bike paths within the city.
The city has 80-foot rights-of-way on the city streets, instead of the customary 40- to 60-foot.
“We’ve got an asset there that has really been underutilized,” Morley said.