Second phase of Redmond Central Connector opens on Willows Road

The second phase of the Redmond Central Connector was opened last Saturday with a celebration and ceremony.

This marks the end of construction on the roughly 1.3-mile stretch of multi-use trail along the former Burlington Northern Railroad corridor that runs from east of the Sammamish River to the intersection at the 9900 block of Willows Road.

Carolyn Hope is with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and said more than 75 people showed up to the grand opening.

The trail is around 12 feet wide and is paved with gravel shoulders.

A trestle and bridge over the Sammamish River near 154th Avenue Northeast was retrofitted during construction to accommodate the trail.

The trail showcases artwork from Side Car Collective and work from the current city poet laureate Shin Yu Pai.

Themes in the art include stories of the railroad and river as transportation corridors and their impacts on local commerce, the environment and the city, according to Redmond documents.

The project is designed to ultimately connect and enhance the 42-mile long Eastside Rail Corridor as part of a regional trail system.

“The trail itself connects King County and Snohomish County trail systems,” Hope said.

The second phase of the project was estimated to cost roughly $6.4 million, Hope said, with around 80 percent of total funding coming from grants.

Hope said one of the biggest achievements of the trail was connecting the businesses on Willows Road with the downtown core.

The area hosts the third largest concentration of businesses in the city and the connector trail allows workers to navigate the city without walking along major roads.

This follows the creation of the first phase, which established a trail and corridor through downtown Redmond and which cost around $5.51 million.

The first phase was completed in 2013 and incorporates a one-mile segment of trail extending from the Bear Creek Trail by state Route 202 and Redmond Way to the Sammamish River Trail.

A third phase of the project, which would utilize 1.6 miles connecting Redmond to Kirkland and Woodinville across Northeast 124th Street, has not yet been funded.

The Redmond Central Connector corridor project was approved after the city secured four miles of the rail corridor and adjacent properties in 2010.