The nasty weather of the past couple weeks delayed the completion of the rebuild of the The Sioux Falls Bike Trail system near Spencer Park.

But it's done now and was officially reopened on Wednesday. For those of us who use the trail regularly for transportation this is good news as that's a key stretch of you want avoid some key pinch points involving Interstate 229 and 57th Street.

I didn't let a little thing like construction deter me, however, and found some acceptable non-paved routes through the construction zone. The official detour -- however necessary for liability reasons -- was unworkable.

Just the same, it's nice to have it done and open. The new stretch is the new standard of 12 feet wide and beautiful.

The most significant improvement will be largely unnoticed by the general public. That's the drainage. Yes, drainage. One of the dangers of using the bike trail system year round is ice build-up because when snow melts it can pool on the trail making some extremely slick spots.

The redesign of this stretch from Tomar to Tuthill has many drain pipes, including the very nasty spot under the Cliff Avenue Bridge. So Kudos City of Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department. Thanks.

Here's the city's press release:

The Spencer Park bike trail section, located between Tomar Park and Cliff Avenue along the Big Sioux River, has reopened and is ready for use. This section of trail was temporarily closed to complete the final phase of a large trail reconstruction project. Improvements included the construction of a new 12-foot-wide trail with a smoother surface, improved drainage, clear sightlines, scenic views, bench seating, signage, and a drinking fountain donated by the Sioux Falls Lions Club.

“Trails are one of the most widely used and appreciated amenities in our park and recreation system. Being able to complete the reconstruction of some of our oldest trail segments using new design standards creates a better trail experience for our residents and visitors alike,” says Don Kearney, Director of Parks and Recreation.

Phase 1 of the multiphase bike trail improvements project was completed earlier this spring and rebuilt the trail between Minnesota Avenue and Tomar Park. Phase 2 completed the project by reconstructing the trail between Tomar Park and Cliff Avenue.

“We administered the project in multiple phases to allow the trail to remain open during the busy summer months. This section of trail is extremely popular, and our goal was to minimize the impacts to users,” says Mike Patten, Park Development Specialist.

Automatic trail counters confirm the most popular sections of the City’s trail system to be between Yankton Trail Park and Cherry Rock Park. Total counts in these sections exceed 800,000 users annually. Over the past year, the City of Sioux Falls has invested more than $675,000 into reconstructing the trail between Minnesota Avenue and Cliff Avenue.

Light construction activity will continue along the sides of the trail. Trail users are urged to use caution while recreating near the construction area.

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