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January 10, 2022

Bellevue segment of Mountains to Sound Greenway trail opens

A/E Editor

Photo by Emma Hinchliffe [enlarge]
The new segment includes this ped-bike tunnel under freeway off-ramps.

On Friday, the city of Bellevue held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of a 1.2-mile, 12-foot-wide paved pedestrian and bicycle trail connecting Interstate 405 to 142nd Place Southeast. This trail is part of the larger Mountains to Sound Greenway project, which will see the construction of 3.6 miles of trail for pedestrians and non-motorized transportation.

The larger trail is being built to close a gap in the Mountains to Sound Greenway, which covers 1.5 million acres between Ellensburg and Seattle, and connects urban centers, forests, meadow-strewn mountain peaks, small farms and rural communities through trails, parks and public lands. In 2019, the greenway was designated a National Heritage Area by Congress.

The 1.2-mile trail section was completed in two phases and two segments and was not a simple case of expanding an existing path. Phase one, which opened in March 2021, includes a new pedestrian-bicycle bridge over Factoria Boulevard Southeast to ensure bicycle and pedestrian safety, a new ped-bike tunnel under freeway off-ramps, and colorful new retaining walls with textured mountain reliefs. This segment connects Interstate 405 to 132nd Avenue Southeast. Imco Construction was the general contractor for this phase.

Work began on phase/segment two in February 2021. Active Construction was the general contractor. This section connects 132nd to 142nd Place Southeast and includes a 12-foot-wide paved pedestrian and bicycle path on the north side of Southeast 36th Street, walls, traffic signal modifications, new lighting and new pavement. The cost for the two finished sections is approximately $27 million.

Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson, congressmen and community members gathered on a rainy Pacific Northwest morning for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. At the event, Congressman Adam Smith said that the completion of the first two segments represents what collaboration can accomplish. Congressman Rick Larson talked about the importance of infrastructure in connecting communities and how the project shows that good things can be achieved even in difficult times.

The recently finished segment links to Sound Transit's Eastgate station and park-and-ride.

When the entire 3.6 miles are complete, people will be able to bike, jog, walk or roll from the Seattle waterfront all the way to Ellensburg using the Mountains to Sound Greenway trail. Bill Chapman, board member with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, said that the vision for the trail, which he has been working on for some 30 years, is to not have to use a map as it will just open up in front of you.

“Those who used to bike this segment before the improvements know what a big deal the completion of this project is,” Robinson, who is herself an avid biker, concluded at the ceremony. “They can now feel safe and have fun doing so, which wasn't the case before.”

Currently no construction date is set, or funding secured, for the final two phases of the trail. The third phase covers 142nd Place Southeast to 150th Avenue Southeast and the fourth phase 156th Avenue Southeast to Southeast Lakemont Boulevard.


Emma Hinchliffe can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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