By David Tuma, The Belton Journal
The largest public infrastructure project in City of Belton history began last week with the clearing of trees along Nolan Creekto make way for the MLK Avenue bridge.
The bridge will connect Loop 121 with Main Street in an area desperately needing traffic relief. The downside of Loop 121 when it was constructed was that there were not very many access points. It originally connected only with Lake Road, 2nd Ave. and I-190.
Construction of the newest access point started earlier than anticipated, with construction crews trying to beat the spring birding season.
“This (bridge) is the biggest infrastructure project the city has ever taken on. It was largely funded by grants; it is a big deal for this community,” said Public Information Officer Paul Romer.
Right now work is being done on the pilings. The bridge will be two lanes with a walking trail and a bike trail over the chasm. The bike trail is 5 feet wide and the walking trail is six feet wide on the bridge.
The flood plain is narrower at this point, with Nolan Creek cutting deep in the plain near the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football stadium. The drop from the bridge is high, for this part of the state. It will provide for a spectacular view. The bridge itself is just over 450 feet long.
The Chisholm Trail Hike and Bike Trial will go through the UMHB campus, over the bridge and connect with Loop 121 when the project is completed. Road work on the other side of Nolan Creek is already there. There is a road connecting the Cliffs of Nolan Creek with Loop 121. The subdivision will be gated.
The same antique light poles used throughout the hike and bike trail will continue on the bridge until it reaches Loop 121 to make it the finest, most spectacular trail in Bell County.