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The 2014 annual meeting of the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy was held in Ottawa on November 15th. If you couldn’t make it, you missed a good time, with lots of great information and fellowship with trail enthusiasts and volunteers.

Here are a few notes from the meeting:

Flint Hills Trail construction to begin in spring

Dan Holloway with CFS Engineers reported at Kanza’s annual meeting that construction for Phase 1A for the Flint Hills Nature Trail Project is now slated to begin in spring. However, clearing of brush within the trail corridor may occur this winter. Phase 1A stretches from just south of Pomona town east six miles to E. Iowa Rd.

APAC-Kansas, Inc., Shears Division submitted the low bid of $1.19 million for the project. This means it is costing $200,000/mile which is on the high side. This is partly due to federal funds being involved, federal and state engineering specifications, plus the trail project is being engineered to the highest level to reduce maintenance costs.

The surface will be composed of 3/8”- limestone screenings containing fines (dust). Instead of bollards there will be swivel ½ gates plus bridge decks will be concreted and railings will be steel to reduce maintenance.

Holloway said trail users will be able experience the trail section by section. Each section will have a theme such as the Santa Fe Trail, Tallgrass Prairie, Railroads, Marais Des Cygnes, and Frontier’s Freedom. Icons of each theme will be on signs in that section and there will be kiosks explaining each theme. A signature bridge may be established west of Ottawa using a beautiful railroad bridge.

Osawatomie spur railbanking now complete

According to Doug Walker, Kanza’s Osawatomie Division Superintendent, the Union Pacific Railroad will complete by the end of the month the railbanking of an eastern extension of the Flint Hills Nature trail from John Brown Highway into the city of Osawatomie proper. Railbanking custodianship will be transferred to Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy. The spur ends just short of a 1/2-mile city right-of-way which will be used to extend the trail past a school to a sports complex.

Green Team to build covered bridge over Wakarusa River

LNT-CoveredBridgeWestar’s Green Team and a retired Green Team member are planning to build a roof over the Landon Nature Trail’s 238-foot Wakarusa River railroad bridge. This will be the longest covered bridge in the Sunflower State and it lies in within the Clinton Wildlife Area.

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