ATV trail promotes tourism, but it doesn't come cheap
The new multipurpose trail system that is planned to run from one end of Carbon County to the other is appealing to a lot of different groups of people from ATVers to bicyclists.
But a few people are asking some questions about the cost of some sections of the trail.
One such section lies just north of Wildcat Loadout in the Consumers area, and extends from the loop bypass road that people can use to cross the tracks should a train be parked across Consumers Road.
A number of people have contacted the Sun Advocate about the scale of the construction of that part of the trail as well as its costs.
This section of the trail was constructed by Nielsen Construction this past fall, winter and spring. The construction took an existing small side trail that ran along the railroad tracks there and routed it down through a wash and over past a gravel pit that is owned by SITLA (School and Institutional Trust Lands). The road construction done is exactly three tenths of a mile long, but it is a large road that can be driven by almost any passenger car.
Based on records uncovered by the Sun Advocate the final cost of the construction at this site was $474,463.
Officials say there were a number of reasons this part of the trail could not stay like it was, and needed to be changed so significantly.
The original track created by off road vehicles was on railroad property and Utah Railway didn't want it there.
There was also another route that the trail could have taken, about two miles east of the railroad track. However that would have meant ATVs traveling on Consumers Road itself.
Brian Barton from Jones and DeMille Engineering explained in a memo last winter that at the time of the planning for the route the commissioners were concerned about the coal truck traffic running on the same road as ATVs.
In addition SITLA was not in favor of the idea of the route running right though an existing gravel pit they had there because if future developments needed to use the pit or some other use was established there, the trail could be a problem.
"They preferred if that the route be kept at the perimeter of their ground rather than taking it through a more valuable section," Barton stated in the memo. "Safety and property utilization were the primary reasons that the route ended up where it is."
The costs included more than just the trail section that was built itself. Records indicate that it also included the building of a kiosk and signage as well.
According to a partial pay estimate the grouted rip-rap that was put in was the largest single cost of the project, and was estimated to be at about $120,000. Rip-rap is rock that is used to keep erosion down on hillsides or cuts.
The excavation itself cost over $85,000 and installing a 12 inch culvert in the wash was about $80,000.
That part of the trail is now open to the public.