By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
The Texas Transportation Commission has approved a grant that will help fund the expansion of the Nolan Creek Hike and Bike Trail into south Belton.
The grant leverages more than $1.4 million in federal funds with $358,114 in local funds. This is the fifth time that Belton has been selected for a trail grant from TxDOT.
“These type of grants have helped us to complete beautiful public projects that we would otherwise not be able to afford,” City Manager Sam Listi said. “When this project is complete, the trail will cross under I-35 and make Nolan Creek and three community parks accessible to all of Belton.”
The planned extension will lead out of Confederate Park and travel south along the I-35 frontage road and connect with sidewalks in place on Holland Road.
“The more we link neighborhoods to downtown the better,” Mayor Marion Grayson said. “This grant is another manifestation that Belton continues to grow and progress. We’re grateful for this TxDOT grant program. It has had a huge impact in Belton.”
This project will construct a two-way, 12-foot-wide shared use path for bicycle and pedestrian use. The project runs along Holland Road/FM 436 between South Wall Street and the IH 35 northbound frontage road, then heads north along the IH 35 northbound frontage road between Holland Road and Confederate Park Drive, and then along Confederate Park Drive under the IH 35 main lanes to the Nolan Creek Hike and Bike Trail in Confederate Park. The path creates an important link between neighborhoods east of IH 35 and destinations to the west, including downtown Belton, parks, government facilities, and University of Mary Hardin Baylor. The path also connects to the Belton park-and-ride facility where bicyclists and pedestrians can catch the HOP (bus service operated by Hill County Transit District). The project incorporates safety features such as lighting, bicycle and pedestrian signals, and crosswalks.
Belton is also working on a previously awarded grant for the Hike and Bike Trail to go under the rail road tracks near UMHB. When completed this trial system will connect Belton High School to South Belton. It is one of the most extensive trail systems running through the heart of a community in Central Texas.
The Texas Transportation Commission approved more than $44 million for 46 bicycle and pedestrian projects for rural/nonurban and small urban population areas across the state. The funding from the federal Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TASA) Program supports population areas of 200,000 or less.
State-selected TASA projects are intended to enhance safety for people of all ages and levels of ability, improve mobility for pedestrians and bicyclists, help mitigate congestion and connect important community destinations.
“Bicycle and pedestrian projects are important to many Texans,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin III. “Funding for these projects will help enhance our state’s bicycle and pedestrian programs.”
The commission approved the action at its October meeting.