FARMINGTON -- Before realigning a 9-mile section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail up and around several homes, Davis County will hire a consulting firm to provide an impact study.
The study will look at the best possible alternatives for completing the trail along the county's portion of the Wasatch Front, and realigning the historic trail to connect it with existing trails in Weber and Salt Lake counties, Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs said.
"We want it to be the right thing for the hillside. We want it to be the right thing for its users and the property owners," Downs said.
Some of the property along the trail in Bountiful and North Salt Lake, where the realignment is being proposed, is privately owned, while other stretches are part of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
On Tuesday during its regularly scheduled weekly meeting, the commission opened eight bids from environmental consulting firms interested in doing the study.
The firms, submitting bids from a low of $14,300 to a high of $85,724, are being brought aboard to help the county jump through all "the necessary hoops," Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn said.
Although it is obvious which environmental consulting company provided the county with the lowest bid, Millburn said, each bid submitted will be thoroughly reviewed before the study is awarded.
"Sometimes those are not as straightforward as the low bid is," he cautioned.
With this particular project there are a variety of factors that have to be adhered to, Millburn said.
One thing is for certain, though -- realigning the southern portion of the trail will be less costly and disruptive than moving the residential developments, which are pushing up against the historic pathway.
Over time, as Davis County's population has increased, houses have crept up the mountainside to the 5,200-foot elevation, the high-water mark of Lake Bonneville, the landmark of the trail.
A large number of people use the trail, and because there are gaps in it, some people leave the designated trail and take different routes along the mountain. That can pose a risk to users, Downs said.
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail makes its south-end connection at Bountiful Boulevard, a city street.
"It would be safer for people and better for the mountain to have a complete designated trail," Downs said. "We need to find ways for people to take a continuous hike on the BST."