CLEARFIELD -- Questions about the safety of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Rail Trail as it passes through Clearfield seem to have been answered by the Utah Department of Transportation.
As the state continues work on a project that will extend State Route 193, users of the popular trail have wondered how they would be impacted by what will eventually become a busy five-lane highway where it intersects the trail.
UDOT has been working on the SR 193 project for several months and will extend the road from State Street to 700 South in Clearfield, then around the Freeport Center to 200 South, and then west to 2000 West in Syracuse.
When the $70 million project is finished, the road will be five lanes beginning at 2000 West, with a grade-separated crossing over the FrontRunner and Union Pacific rail lines.
"I don't like crossing the street anywhere, let alone a highway," said Marrisa Owens, a frequent user of the trail. "I wondered what it would be like."
Owens and other trail users now have an answer.
UDOT crews are beginning a process to install a pedestrian crossing under the new roadway.
UDOT Region One spokesman Vic Saunders said the crossing will be a "box culvert" that will run under the ground and be large enough for bikes to pass through, similar to what is seen in several spots along the Ogden River Parkway Trail.
"We'll first install the crossing and then build the roadway over the top of it," Saunders said. "It will allow (trail users) to cross the street safely without ever having to worry about traffic."
The D&RGW trail has been closed since mid-February between 200 South and 700 South due to excavation work associated with the SR 193 project.
The trail -- which spans about 25 miles of paved asphalt between 400 North in West Bountiful to Hinckley Drive in the Roy/West Haven area, just west of the active Union Pacific rail line -- is still open on either side of this closure.
Saunders said the Clearfield portion of the trail will remain closed until the summer of 2014 as work progresses on the SR 193 extension.
When it reopens, users of the trail will be ready.
"I wasn't too thrilled to hear about it closing for a year and a half," Owens said. "But I can wait if it means I'll have a safe way to cross the street."