cottonwood creek (copy)

Bicyclists cross the bridge over Cottonwood Creek on the Cottonwood Creek Trail on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, near North Academy Boulevard in Colorado Springs. A recently completed 1.23 miles of new trail runs from Austin Bluffs Parkway to the east side of Powers Boulevard.

Runners, cyclists and residents interested in a casual stroll in northeast Colorado Springs now have an extension of the Cottonwood Creek Trail to explore. 

The 1.23 miles of new trail from Austin Bluffs Parkway to the east side of north Powers Boulevard was completed in recent weeks, extending the path from its downtown terminus in America the Beautiful Park to the Wolf Ranch neighborhood — a distance of 13.5 miles.

Now a resident of Wolf Ranch could cycle to downtown, mostly downhill, and only have to cross two streets, Union Boulevard and Polk Street, said Britt Haley, Colorado Springs parks design and development manager. For runners, a soft surface option is provided next to the 10-foot wide concrete path, she said. 

It is the latest segment on the trail that has been a high priority for the city, Haley said. 

"For the last five years, we have been working on segment after segment," she said. Eventually, the city expects to extend the trail further east, but it doesn't have any immediate plans for that work, she said. 

The new trail section cost $2.2 million and included five connections to neighborhoods and a bridge under Woodmen Road, according to a news release. Trails are pricey because of they have to be built to the same standards as roads for them to hold up over time, Haley said. 

The city saved some money on land after Nor'Wood Development Group granted the trail an easement into Wolf Ranch for the final stretch of trail, she said. The city was also able to pay a contractor working on a big water detention facility to build 1,200 linear feet of trail which also helped keep costs down, she said. 

"It took a lot of partners and hands in the mix to get done," she said. 

Contact the writer at mary.shinn@gazette.com or (719) 429-9264.

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