Eastlake Sammamish Trail redevelopment has new completion date

Grand opening set for Oct. 7 at the northern end of the East Lake Sammamish Trail in Redmond.

The final segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) redevelopment has experienced several setbacks throughout its construction starting in July 2021.

These major setbacks created uncertainty about the completion date and when the trail would be open to the public.

However, King County has now confirmed the completion date for October 2023.

The grand opening is set for Oct. 7 at the northern end of the East Lake Sammamish Trail in Redmond from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., said Doug Williams, media relations coordinator for the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

The final redevelopment segment of the ELST, known as segment B, was set into two separate projects, phases one and two.

The first phase spans 1.7 miles from SE 33rd Street to Driveway 10, and phase two continues 1.9 miles from Driveway 10 to Inglewood Hill Road.

When complete, the former gravel trail will be developed into a 12-foot paved trail with a 2-foot gravel shoulder on each side.

However, this project entails more than a new trail. It promises to increase safety with signage and fencing, enhance and increase wildlife and biological diversity, and create preventive measures for unruly weather conditions.

Phase two has been on track for its completion date of December 2023. However, the first phase has endured many roadblocks, pushing the completion date from December 2022 to October 2023.

The orange line represents the area where segment B is being redeveloped. (Photo courtesy of King County Parks)

The orange line represents the area where segment B is being redeveloped. (Photo courtesy of King County Parks)

Williams said besides unexpected bad-weather days, major setbacks in the first phase were also caused by supply chain issues, a four-month-long concrete strike and the relocation of unknown utilities within the trail corridor.

Despite these difficulties, the project is expected to fall below the initial budget.

The cost for completing the final segment of the ELST is $27 million, with funding provided by the voter-approved 2014-2019 and 2020-2025 park levy, Williams said in an email.

According to King County, the estimated cost for phase one was $11.9 million, and $16.9 million for phase two — totaling $28.8 million for the completion of segment B.

Once the multipurpose trail opens, it will complete the 44-mile trail system, connecting from the Burke-Gilman Trail to the Issaquah-Preston Trail.

According to King County segment B will feature:

• 18 new retaining walls to provide slope stability and reduce the trail footprint, resulting in less impact on environmentally sensitive areas and adjacent residents.

• 14 reconstructed intersections with improved sight lines and safety features like concrete warning bands, bollards, striping and consistent signage. Warning bands provide a visual and textural difference from the paved trail’s surface and along with improved signage, indicate an intersection is 75-feet ahead.

• 6 new fish-passable culverts which improve water quality, enhance habitat, and increase access to spawning grounds for the Lake Sammamish Kokanee, a fish species of importance.

• 2 new rest stops for trail users to sit and enjoy views of Lake Sammamish and the surrounding area.

• Approximately 900 new native trees and more than 11,000 shrubs providing erosion control, providing increased visual and aural screening of East Lake Sammamish Parkway, wildlife protection and habitat connectivity, and a continuous park like setting along the corridor.

• Over 7,500 linear feet of new chain link fence, installed for safety above steep slopes.

• Over 3,800 linear feet of split rail fence to protect and delineate critical natural areas.

• Over 800 linear feet of guard rail to protect and separate the trail from vehicles.

• Almost 1.8 acres of wetland, buffer, and shoreline mitigation area restored to increase fish and wildlife habitat and improve biological diversity. Features like habitat logs and brush piles as well as a variety of native plant species that will create multiple vegetation strata as they mature.

• Improved stormwater conveyance systems along and across the trail to ensure they can accommodate a 25-year storm event.