Work is underway on another segment of Tacoma’s Water Flume Line Trail, a multi-use path that eventually will connect South Tacoma to downtown and the Dome District.
Contractors last month began work on Phase 4, which stretches along South Tacoma Way between South M Street and Pacific Avenue and then on to C Street.
The $2.8 million project will add a 14-foot-wide multi-use path along the north side of South Tacoma Way and include planter strips and other barriers to separate the path from the road, said Diane Sheesley, project manager for the city.
When the work is finished, South Tacoma Way will be reduced from its current four lanes to three between M Street and Pacific Avenue — two lanes on the uphill, eastbound stretch and one headed downhill from M Street.
Sheesley said the current work should be completed by the end of the year. Lane restrictions are in effect near the Tacoma Rescue Mission right now.
The biggest chunk of the money for the project came from a federal grant, with the city chipping in about $325,000, Sheesley said.
The Water Flume Line Trail is a historic corridor that the city is rebuilding into a 6.5-mile-long path for bicyclists and pedestrians. The name comes from the open-topped wooden flume that carried water from Spanaway Lake and Clover Creek to Tacoma in the late 1880s.
Phases 1 and 2 have been built.
The trail currently runs from near 80th Street Court Southwest and South Tacoma Way to South 47th Street and South Tacoma Way.
The design of Phase 3, which will complete the connection between South Pine and M streets, is underway, but construction money has not been secured, Sheesley said.
Building that final link is complicated by the fact that private property must be acquired for that section, she said.
Kristina Walker is executive director of Downtown on the Go, which works to educate people about alternatives to driving alone.
She said Friday that completing the Water Flume Line Trail will provide a “really, really important connection from South Tacoma.”
The fact that the trail will be separated from the road, not running on street bike lanes, when completed is a big deal for people who might want to bike or walk from South Tacoma into the downtown area, she said.
“You can bring your family,” Walker said. “Creating safe connections is so important.”