Work to begin on another 9.5 miles of Whitehorse Trail

ARLINGTON — Work continues on the scenic Whitehorse Trail between Arlington and Darrington.

The 27-mile route has been lauded as a key recreation feature to help the Stillaguamish Valley recover after the deadly 2014 Oso mudslide. The goal is to create a path for hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders that draws them to Arlington, Darrington and the smaller communities between.

Bridges along the trail have been repaired and washouts shored up. Work crews have beaten back brush to widen overgrown stretches. Design and engineering is under way to rebuild a mile of the trail destroyed by the mudslide.

Now, the county is ready to tackle another nine and a half miles thanks to millions of dollars in state and federal funds.

The plan is to clear and upgrade the trail starting west of the slide area heading toward the Cicero Pond Trailhead.

It’s a $4.24 million project. Earlier this month, the Snohomish County Council accepted a $2 million grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office for the project.

The budget includes $1.1 million from the state Department of Transportation, $570,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state matching dollars, according to county documents.

The rebuild would make the trail 12 feet wide and suitable for nonmotorized uses such as walking, biking or horseback riding. The surface would mostly be compacted gravel and crushed rock. Brush is to be cleared from the trail and signs installed.

The project is scheduled to start this month and continue until the end of 2018. A preliminary timeline suggests finalizing permits and environmental studies by the end of 2016, hiring contractors by June 2017 and starting construction by the end of July 2017. The county hopes to have construction complete in August 2018, according to the timeline.

The Whitehorse Trail once was a Burlington Northern Railway line. The county purchased it in 1993.

Six miles are officially open to the public heading west from Darrington toward Swede Heaven Road.

Other stretches of the trail are used by walkers and horseback riders, though they haven’t been updated yet by county crews and contractors.

There are 14 bridges along the trail that have been repaired with new railings and decking, thanks to private donations.

In Arlington, the Whitehorse Trail connects with the popular paved Centennial Trail, which stretches about 30 miles from the city of Snohomish to the Skagit County line.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

No flashing lights planned for giant Port of Everett cranes

The Port sought public input on making them blue and adding lights or keeping them as they were.

Gun-ammunition bill is suffocated by GOP amendments

It’s Day 40 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

Edmonds School District leaders plan for another school bond

It won’t be in April, but the district could float another bond proposal in August or November.

Meet the newest Daily Herald reporter, Rachel Riley

In this episode of “Herald Headlines,” Executive Editor Phil O’Connor interviews a new staffer.

Boeing asks that its big state tax break be suspended

The company hopes the move will resolve a trade dispute involving European rival Airbus.

Will Boy Scout bankruptcy sweep abuse cases under the rug?

38 scouting officials in Washington were known to be a danger to kids, including one in Everett.

South Lynnwood Park to get $2.5 million renovation

A new soccer field, covered picnic area and accessibility upgrades are among the improvements.

3 choices: How Swift, light rail should hook up in Shoreline

Do you prefer the 185th street corridor, the Aurora Transit Center or decongestion?

Shots fired during freeway chase from Everett to Redmond

A Redmond man was arrested around 4 a.m. Saturday after fleeing state troopers by car and on foot.

Most Read