Large wood pads line the terrain next to the Foothills Trail in Puyallup and a busy corner is already choked with staging materials as crews prepare for a project that will close the popular trail for the remainder of the summer.
A 1.4-mile section of the paved 15-mile trail (often called the Orting Trail) is closing August 1-October 31 so Puget Sound Energy can install a 230-kilovolt transmission line. The agency says the 8-mile line is necessary because the existing electric grid is approaching capacity.
The closure will stretch from the East Puyallup Trailhead (near the intersection of Pioneer Way and 134th Ave. E.) to N. 96th St. E. near Spooner Farmers. A temporary parking lot is planned near 96th Street for trail users in August and September. Trail activity drops significantly in October and activity around 96th Street picks up dramatically as Spooner Farms launches its Halloween festivities.
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While the multi-use trail is currently open, work is already underway and large wood pads used to minimize the impact of heavy machinery infringe on the trail in some areas, including a section where the trail turns and visibility is reduced. In another area, large mats cover the trail between two sharp turns. PSE workers are helping direct trail traffic at times. On Friday, cyclists were asked to dismount and carry their bikes over a cable.
The section that is closing is also a popular spot for picking blackberries.
PSE signs posted at either end of the work area state “after construction is complete we’ll restore the trail corridor back to its original condition or better.”
The trail currently stretches from Puyallup to South Prairie but a two-year Pierce County expansion project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. When complete, the trail will stretch to the White River in Buckley.