Originally Published: May 7, 2011 10 p.m.
PRESCOTT - Mile by mile, the Prescott Peavine Trail continues to grow.
Just this past week, crews put the finishing touches on the trail's most recent addition - a mile-long section that stretches north from Highway 89A to the old wood railroad trestle over Granite Creek.
That brings the total length of the trail to about six miles, says Chris Hosking, the city's trails specialist.
Along with the new cinder-covered trail section, the addition also includes a 40-space parking lot/trailhead near the old Side Road/89A intersection, as well as a lighted walkway underneath the highway to get hikers, cyclists and horseback riders to the new portion of the trail.
The new section dates back to the city's July 2007 purchase of two additional miles of old Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe railroad right-of-way. Later that year, the city opened a mile-long section of that, running from the old Highway 89A corridor to the newly aligned highway.
The second mile-long addition, which opened recently, was a part of the $17.1 million Granite Dells Parkway/89A interchange project that crews largely completed this past fall.
City Engineer Scott Tkach reported that the new parking lot and trail were part of the original design for the interchange.
Since the September 2010 opening of the interchange, Tkach said the contractor has been working sporadically on the mass grading, underground utility stub-outs, and paving that was necessary for the new trailhead and trail.
Two large box culverts were already in place under the highway, Tkach said, and the interchange project extended and converted one of those into a walkway, complete with lights, for recreational use.
The project came with a "very detailed and extensive hydrological review," Tkach said, which determined that one of the box culverts provided enough capacity to handle the water under the highway.
Tkach said the cost of the trailhead and trail totaled $325,000. About $196,000 of that went toward the trail improvements, including moving the alignment, grading, walls, and cinders. The remaining $129,000 went toward the parking lot. The costs were a part of the $17.1 million cost of the interchange.
When it came to the railroad bed to the north, Hosking said minimal work was necessary. While it required some cleanup, he said, "It was in pretty good shape."
The walk will take trail users to the south end of the historic wood railroad trestle that long bridged Granite Creek for the trains that ran through the area. Noting that major flooding in 1983 took out sections of the trestle, Hosking said, "It was really that that finished the railroad."
Officials have since determined that the old trestle is unsalvageable.
Even though the city also owns a two-mile section of abandoned railroad right-of-way north of the trestle, Hosking said determining how to get trail users across the creek "is kind of our roadblock right now."
The Peavine, which begins at the city's south trailhead off Sundog Ranch Road, runs about six miles to the north, and also ties with Prescott Valley's Iron King Trail, which offers another nearly four-mile stretch of trail.
To get to the north trailhead, drivers should take the new Granite Dells Parkway interchange and turn toward Side Road on the south side of the highway. Along with spaces for cars, the parking lot also includes a number of spaces that can accommodate horse trailers.