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Board of Supervisors approves plans for Humboldt Bay Trail South Project

Humboldt Bay Trail Exhibit (Humboldt County)
Humboldt Bay Trail Exhibit (Humboldt County)
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Big progress was made Tuesday in the Humboldt Bay Trail project, which will provide a separate trail between Eureka and Arcata, allowing people to travel between the two cities in a method other than driving.

"Today, it was a big milestone where the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors approved the construction bid documents," Public Works Director Hank Seemann said.

The Board of Supervisors approved the county's plans for the southern portion of the project and authorized the public works director to put the project out for bids.

"There'll be almost 17 miles of continuous segments of the Humboldt Bay Trail," Seemann said. "We will receive bids within five or six weeks, and then if the amount of the bid is within our available funding, then we hope to start construction starting in May."

Before the trail is complete, several steps must be taken to ensure its safety. One of these steps is removing roughly 40% of the eucalyptus trees lining a stretch of U.S. Highway 101, which the trail will run parallel to.

"We also hired an arborist who did a tree risk assessment, and he concluded that they are in a state of physiological decline," Seemann said.

According to Seemann, construction will likely begin in May and run through October, after which crews must pause construction efforts during the rainy season and then pick back up again next spring. Seemann said he expects the project to be fully completed by the summer of 2024.

"The trail will cross over onto the levee around the mill site for a little over a mile, and that segment of trail will provide some terrific views of Humboldt Bay that few people have seen," Seemann said.

The project incorporates a number of the county's other initiatives, including the Climate Action Plan -- which in part aims to reduce emissions from vehicles -- while also focusing primarily on the enjoyment such a trail will provide to community members.

"It's really a chance to connect to the bay," Seemann said.

The California Transportation Commission and other state agencies will fund the project. The total construction budget stands at $16.3 million.

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Within the next few weeks, Seemann will review bids, and if those bids are within the budget, construction will be able to start soon after.

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