The Crooked Crane Trail is one step closer to connecting the trail system within the city after the Dickinson City Commission recently approved a contract with a consulting firm to assist with design and construction engineering services.

During a public meeting, the Dickinson City Commission met at City Hall to approve the current alignment feasibility contract with SRF Consulting Group, Inc., for the Crooked Crane Trail connection from Patterson Lake to the city of Dickinson. Commissioner Suzi Sobolik made the motion to approve the contract, and Commissioner Jason Fridrich seconded it. The commission voted 4-0 to pass the agenda item.

Due to the proposed location of the extension, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State Water Commission are vital agencies with jurisdiction over portions of the proposed trail alignment, according to a city agenda document.

This is the second phase of the Crooked Crane Trail, and in order for this project to come to fruition, the city needs to obtain permission and a permit from BNSF to construct part of the trail in their right-of-way, the city agenda document states.

“This has been in the planning for quite a few years. There was some initial work done previously on the route and the best locations, so this contract with SRF will assist us in working with BNSF,” Public Works Director Gary Zuroff said.

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Zuroff noted that this extension would be a trail connection from the State Avenue overpass to the existing Crooked Crane Trail along the BNSF right-of-way.

“The scope of this (contract with) SRF is to work with BNSF to see if that’s the location the trail can be built and so it hasn’t been finally designed or bid out. We’re still in the pre-planning stage,” he noted.

Funding for Phase II of the Crooked Crane Trail project has been supported by the Outdoor Heritage Fund Grant, Zuroff said.

SRF Consulting Group will conduct a scope of services, entailing three main tasks from trail alignment refinement, agency coordination and Phase I Feasibility Memorandum, according to a city agenda document. After tasks 1 and 2 are completed, SRF Consulting Group will “prepare a memo that includes 10% design plans, along with concerns and design considerations provided by each agency engaged,” a city agenda document explains.

“At this time, SRF will work with Engineering Department staff to craft a recommendation to the City Commission on whether or not to pursue the current alignment or an alternative alignment into Phase II. SRF will present the memorandum and recommendation to the City Commission at this time,” the document reads.

Depending on how quickly the agencies and the city can determine the alignment and route, this project will then be brought back to the City Commission for consideration of a construction contractor. Zuroff projects that this agenda item will be further looked at throughout the winter.

“It’s been looked at for a long time as a way to connect the trails. It’s part of the expansion of the trail system within the city and this will connect the trails within the city with the Crooked Crane Trail and that’s been a goal I think since the beginning of the Crooked Crane Trail project,” he added.