September's flooding did not delay the plans for a more navigable trail link between Evergreen Lake Park and downtown.
"While one of the pier locations is technically in the floodplain," said Dean Dalvit, president of the Downtown Evergreen Economic District, "the water line never actually got high enough to even scour the hillside at the trail's location. I can say that we're extremely fortunate we weren't under construction late this summer, as that could have been trouble — not because of the river, but because of the sheer amount of precipitation."
DEED and the Evergreen Park and Recreation District accepted a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado a year ago for the project, which will improve the existing trail and extend it to downtown, eliminating the need for the metal stairs on either side of the dam.
"The design has evolved a lot over the last several months due to requests and requirements from the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Evergreen Metropolitan District and Denver Mountain Parks," Dalvit said of the trail. "Otherwise, the general use and purpose has always been the same.
"The timing has been stretched out due to the jurisdictional reviews of the first design options, their feedback that led to the current design, (and) the community outreach and presentation of the plan at each step."
Dalvit said the $250,000 project will provide an easy-to-care-for trail that can be assembled in less than a week and will last as long as a highway bridge.
"I don't have an exact number (of years)," Dalvit said, "but by comparison to surface trails, (the lifespan is) significantly longer, as an elevated trail is not subject to ground movement, freeze-thaw cycles or any of the other conditions that cause cracking."
The new design is dramatically different from the bridge installed by Jeffco Open Space a decade ago, which was ultimately removed after community complaints about its aesthetics. The latest design was created over the last couple of months as a compromise between what the different agencies were looking for.
The trail will be elevated and built off site in sections, with both the on-site assembly and installation taking only a few nights.