MISSOULA, Mont. - The city of Missoula unveiled a new quarter-mile portion of the Milwaukee Trail system Thursday.
The new link is about a half-mile from Deer Creek Road in East Missoula. The section links the Kim Williams Trail to the Canyon River Trail system.
Missoula Parks and Recreation says they have wanted to link these trail systems since the 1990s.
The new link gives cyclists and pedestrians an uninterrupted route from East Missoula to southwest Missoula and farther south to the Bitterroot.
The project came with some challenges. The trail runs directly under Interstate 90 and the Montana Rail Link track.
Parks and Recreation director Donna Gaukler says construction crews built a retaining wall to keep the railroad track in place while they excavated dirt to make way for the trail system. The department also worked with MDT to assure safety underneath the Interstate 90 portion of the bridge.
"It's a very small link to a very, very big opportunity. We know that loop trails and trail systems cause people to be more active, engage more fully in their community, and access to trails (is) also really significant in meeting our goals as it relates to social equity," Gaulker said.
The project cost around $530,000. Most of the money came from federally funded grants. Run Wild Missoula contributed $15,000.
Gaulker says the city of Missoula will pay for continued maintenance.
You can read more in the full press release here.