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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Work on the Ward Branch Stormwater and Greenway Trail Improvements Project is complete. This was a multi-purpose project that included stream bank stabilization to protect road embankments and improve water quality as well as a continued effort to develop the Ward Branch Greenway.
The project extends from Bradford Parkway and Independence Street on the east end to Republic Road just north of Twin Oaks Country Club on the west end. It utilizes existing structures at National Avenue and James River Freeway for bicycle/pedestrian underpasses. Trail connections were made to the Bradford Office Park and the neighborhood west of CoxHealth Hospital.
A connection to CoxHealth Hospital is planned for the future. Future extensions being planned will extend the Ward Branch Greenway Trail to the east to Fremont Avenue, and to the west to the existing section of trail in Shadowood Subdivision, providing continuous trail to the Library Center on South Campbell. In addition, it will eventually connect to the Link, a north-south bicycle/pedestrian route connecting other greenway trails, universities, and downtown.
Stabilization of the banks of Ward Branch reduces the amount of harmful sediment that washes downstream through neighborhoods, into the James River and eventually to Table Rock Lake.
The $1.3 million project cost includes a projected $1.1 million for construction and an additional $200,000 for design costs. Adjacent property owners provided all easements at no cost and there was no use of eminent domain. Flat Creek Excavating was the construction contractor for the project.
The project would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance of the Missouri Department of Transportation to allow for the work that took place within the right-of-way of James River Freeway.
Completion of this project represents the completion of all projects that were promised to be constructed under the 2006 Springfield-Greene County Parks/Stormwater Sales Tax. That tax had a sunset in June 2012.
Construction of these improvements required the removal of a number of trees. The City preserved as many existing trees as possible, and will also improve the overall tree canopy along the future creek corridor.
The City had a professional tree canopy evaluation completed, which was used to guide final project design to minimize tree loss. Tree Canopy removed will be replaced at two times the rate it was lost on site or at other locations along Springfield waterways and public properties. New plantings along the project will be completed over the next several months. A ribbon cutting is planned for this fall.
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For more information, contact Chris Dunnaway, City of Springfield Professional Engineer, (417) 864-1876; Casey Kellner, City of Springfield Urban Forester, at (417) 864-1135; or Terry Whaley at Ozark Greenways, (417) 864-2014.