Work is beginning on the final segment of the Ship Canal Trail, which will extend westward along the south shore of the Ship Canal from 11th Avenue West to Emerson Street near Fishermen's Terminal.

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Work is beginning on the final segment of the Ship Canal Trail, about a half-mile long, which will extend westward along the south shore of the Ship Canal from 11th Avenue West to Emerson Street near Fishermen’s Terminal.

The city hopes to have the work done by the end of the year. Completion of the trail will make it possible to bike from Redmond to downtown Seattle almost entirely on dedicated bike trails. The final section will cost $1 million.

This is not the “missing link” of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard, which has been in dispute for years. That trail link would run from 11th Avenue Northwest near the Ballard Fred Meyer store to the Ballard Locks. It is the only section of the Burke-Gilman Trail that is undeveloped. It is on hold pending legal action. The city hopes to return to court in December or January so a court-mandated environmental review can be approved.

On the Ship Canal Trail, the first work will be building a retaining wall along the Nickerson/15th Avenue West ramp just west of and under the Ballard Bridge. This will require the closure of the ramp to southbound 15th Avenue West beginning Monday for up to a month. There will be marked detours.

Once finished, the Ship Canal Trail will connect the Elliott Bay Trail and the Interbay and Magnolia neighborhoods to other bicycle routes at the Fremont Bridge, including the Interurban route to the north along Fremont Avenue North, the Burke-Gilman Trail east and west and the Dexter Avenue route to the south.

From the southbound Ballard Bridge, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to reach the new trail by making a sharp right turn and following an existing sidewalk toward Fishermen’s Terminal. That route will allow cyclists heading to Queen Anne or Lake Union a safe alternative to the West Emerson Street overpass, where car traffic tends to be busy and impatient.

The project was funded by the voter-approved Bridging the Gap levy in 2006.