Coastal Planning Identifies Range of Costs Based on Trail Type
Thanks to a significant planning grant from the Tillamook County Transient Lodging Tax Facilities program, the Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency (STIA) and project partners have a much clearer understanding of what it will take to build the coastal segment of the Salmonberry Trail, from the unincorporated community of Mohler though the cities of Wheeler, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi and Bay City, a distance of 23 miles.
Parametrix, an engineering and planning firm, led the effort following up on their earlier work of helping local coastal jurisdictions incorporate the Salmonberry Trail into their transportation and comprehensive plans. STIA leaders convened a Coastal Advisory Committee, comprised of community leaders throughout the study area, to work with Parametrix and provide advice and direction throughout the planning process. This committee will be important in helping with decision making and direction as trail planning and development move forward.
Objectives of the plan included identifying constraints for two trail options, rail-with-trail and rail-to-trail. It also addressed options for preferred trail alignment, evaluated the 20 existing rail bridges, provided cost estimates for the various trail options and proposed a phasing strategy.
The most significant finding in the study relates to the complexity and range of costs for constructing a trail alongside the railroad in areas regulated as estuary land use zones where fill is not allowed and the trail would have to be built as an elevated platform on piers. There could be as many as six miles of marine platform on piers. This is a very costly trail type and would also present challenges in obtaining permits.
Parametrix and STIA’s Coastal Advisory Committee examined three possible trail engineering approaches in the coastal/estuary segment: rail with trail; rail with trail on platform in estuary areas; and conversion to trail only.
The Coastal Advisory Committee recognizes the challenges and costs of eventually having the Coast segment of the Salmonberry Trail become a reality. Nevertheless, they are undaunted and will continue to look for opportunities to build the trail one step at a time.