Neil Hill, 80, enjoys his daily trek along the Interurban Trail in Lynnwood Monday. A missing link of the trail will open next week. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Neil Hill, 80, enjoys his daily trek along the Interurban Trail in Lynnwood Monday. A missing link of the trail will open next week. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Link’s no longer missing along Interurban Trail in Lynnwood

With work near South Lynnwood Park complete, public invited to take a stroll or ride on new section.

At 80, Lynnwood’s Neil Hill rarely misses a day of walking along the Interurban Trail.

A lifelong walker, Hill’s routine began in earnest with retirement from his work as a project manager for a health care company. He’s happy to hear that the trail will soon be easier to navigate.

The city of Lynnwood invites walkers and cyclists to be the first to try out what’s been a missing link along the trail at 212th Street SW near 63rd Ave. W. A ribbon cutting and trail opening event is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at the site.

“It’s about time,” Hill said Monday afternoon as he trekked along the trail near South Lynnwood Park.

The Interurban Trail generally follows a route once used by the Seattle-to-Everett interurban trolley. The electric rail service operated from 1910 to 1939. A regional hard-surfaced trail that starts in north Seattle, the Interurban route runs north through Shoreline, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, unincorporated Snohomish County and Everett. Lynnwood’s portion is 3.8 miles long.

Julie Moore, Lynnwood’s public affairs officer, said the north end of the missing link project begins at the southeast corner of South Lynnwood Park, where the trail diverts into the park. The project ends at the trail connection on the south side of 212th Street SW near 63rd Avenue W. With a price tag of $2.9 million, including $1.5 million in grant money, the project also involved work along 212th Street SW.

Without the link, Moore said, trail users in high-traffic Lynnwood have had to leave the route and use city streets and sidewalks until connecting again with the Interurban.

Before the missing portion was added, the trail has diverted into South Lynnwood Park and exited the park along 61st Avenue W. and 211th Street SW, eventually heading east to the current crossing of 212th Street SW.

The trail’s new portion is about 980 feet, said Moore, adding that the project included a sewer line reconstruction and continuation of bike lanes onto the trail.

Lynnwood has joined with Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace for the Bike2Health program, paid for by a $1.9 million grant from the Verdant Health Commission, Moore said. It aims to make cycling safer and increase connections in the region.

Moore cautioned that future projects will block parts of the trail, especially the Lynnwood Link Extension work involved in bringing light rail into Snohomish County.

Soon, though, it will be clear sailing on the Interurban near South Lynnwood Park. That was good news for Hill and others on the trail Monday.

Woldesemait Teklehaymanot, a leader of Debre Selam Kidus Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in Edmonds, and Henoke Hadera stopped near the park to chat.

“We walk three to four times a week, all year long,” the 39-year-old Hadera said.

Andy McLellan, 46, lives near Lake Ballinger. He has used the Interurban route to visit his sister, who lives a couple blocks from the trail in Everett. McLellan once loved living near the Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle, which he used to commute to work in the city’s north end.

With one missing link along the Interurban Trail about to be finished, he won’t wait to use it.

“I’ll be on it,” McLellan said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Trail opening

Lynnwood will host a ribbon cutting and trail opening at 2 p.m. Monday for what has been a missing link along the Interurban Trail near 212th Street SW and 63rd Avenue W. The trail generally follows a route once used by the Seattle-to-Everett interurban trolley.

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