Path takes step forward

Chad Frey
A new bridge for a new pedestrian path in North Newton was installed Thursday. [COURTESY/Dana Shifflet]

A walking path project in North Newton took a big step forward Thursday, despite morning storms that hindered the project a bit.

A 15-foot-wide, 60-foot-long bridge was lowered into place by Vogts Parga Construction.

“It was impressive. We knew it would be, and it was,” said John Torline, city manager for North Newton.

The bridge is part of a 1 1/2 mile extension to the Sand Creek trail system that winds through North Newton and Newton.

“Basically you can go on a path from First Street in Newton all the way into to North Newton,” Torline said. “You can go a long ways walking and biking.”

Currently the path system connects the two cities by way of Centennial Park, Bethel College and Kauffman Museum.

This extension will connect the North West part of North Newton — beginning at 30th Street near Kidron Creek and winding through the woods at Northwoods Plaza, onto Anderson Street and back to Kidron Creek.

Planning and work on the path extension has been ongoing for about three years.

“It has been a long time coming,” Torline said. “We are relived that it is here.”

The path itself is 10 feet wide. The bridge is 15 feet at the behest of the Kansas Department of Transportation, which provided grant funding for 80% of the project.

Estimated completion for the path extension is July, weather permitting.

“It is the next step in a long thought of path connecting North Newton and Hesston,” Torline said. “The county has that project on its radar.”

Harvey County had a cost analysis of a path connecting North Newton to Hesston performed earlier this year, with estimates of more than $3 million.