Coming Soon: Little Mill Creek Trail Tunnel

Coming Soon: Little Mill Creek Trail Tunnel
Posted on 06/29/2021

The City of Lenexa is planning a pedestrian tunnel that will connect the north and south sides of the Little Mill Creek Trail system, one of the city’s best and busiest recreation amenities.

The Little Mill Creek Trail has long been cut in half by 87th Street Parkway’s four lanes of divided roadway and a steep incline that requires trailgoers to climb four flights of stairs to reach the road more than 20 feet above the trail.

The site topography presents challenges to improving connectivity. For example, a pedestrian bridge — typically built over a road that is at or below the grade of an adjacent trail — would need to be 32 to 34 feet tall to allow for minimal clearance over the road.

The City recently worked with a consultant to evaluate the best ways to approach constructing a tunnel, the safest option for walkers and bikers to access both sides of the trail.

The tunnel would connect the Little Mill Creek Trail on the north side of the road with the trails at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park near the skate park south of 87th Street Parkway. An arched roof and ample lighting will give the new crossing a safe, appealing look.

The consultant estimated that tunneling under the road would cost more than three times as much as cutting through the street and installing a pre-cast tunnel. The City Council recently voted to move forward with installing the pre-cast tunnel.

During installation, 87th Street Parkway could be closed in both directions for up to 30 days. Understanding that this will be a significant impact to the motoring public, staff plans to include a monetary incentive and penalty provision in the builder’s contract to encourage them to reduce the total time the road is closed. The tunnel installation is expected to take place in summer 2022.

You may notice some activity in the area starting in late fall, as WaterOne relocates a water line to allow the tunnel installation to move forward. There may be lane closures during this phase.

Lenexa received a $1.1 million grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation to build the new tunnel, expected to cost about $2 million.

Published June 29, 2021