Plano, Allen Trails to Connect by February

Connection between Bluebonnet Trail, Six City Trail to keep bikes, pedestrians off busy road

Traveling between Plano to Allen by bicycle and pedestrian trail will be possible by February.

The trail connection project linking Bluebonnet Trail in Plano and Six City Trail in Allen includes a large pedestrian bridge over Rowlett Creek and a path adjacent to U.S. 75.

The design brings the Bluebonnet Trail parallel to Central Expressway, the U.S. 75 service road, and runs underneath the highway toward Allen. It also includes the construction of a 150-foot pedestrian-bicycle bridge crossing Rowlett Creek, the largest of its kind in Plano.

The nearly $500,000 project received county grants covering about half of the cost.

Denis O'Donoghue, a Chase Oaks resident and bicyclist , said the project is a positive sign of progress.

Accessing the Allen trail today means walking against traffic along the U.S. 75 access road, crossing the highway bridge over Rowlett Creek and then walking down the hill in order to pick up trail, he said.

"There's no safe place to [cross]," O'Donoghue said, saying traffic often moves at 50 mph or faster.

"They're not expecting to see someone up on that bridge going the other way," he said.

The connection between Bluebonnet Trail and Six City Trail is part of the Six Cities Trail Plan, a project between McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Allen, Garland and Richardson. It is Plano's first inter-city connection, but the Six Cities Trail Plan aims to eventually create a fluid network between all six cities.

"The plan is to be able to make connections from Dallas through Plano, through Allen, through McKinney on trail," said Renee Jordan, Plano trail system planner.

But roadblocks such as U.S. 75 in the case of Plano and Allen complicate the process, she said.

"Now that we're more developed, it is difficult to go back and retrofit these areas with trails," she said.

The Plano and Allen connection project has been in the works since at least 2001. Construction will begin within the next four to six weeks.

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