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PROVO — The I-15 CORE project is still several month away from being finished, but for outdoor enthusiasts, there is an opening now: at the tunnel under I-15 along the Provo River Trail.
Monte Swain, out for his first jog of the season on the Provo River Trail, was thrilled the trail is no longer closed at I-15.
"I didn't know about the tunnel, the tunnel is great; it used to be terrible to run through this spot," he said.
The trail under the freeway used to be very narrow — a low clearance passageway that was rebuilt as new bridges were put over the Provo River, as a part of the I- 15 Core Project.
"I just avoided it after I tried running a couple of times when I thought it would be a quick detour," Kristi Jackson said. "So I avoided it and this is the first time I've done it since; I was surprised it was open, actually."
Now that critical section of the trail is wide open, with an eight-foot clearance, and is elevated above the river.
"It's been inconvenient, while it was down, but it has been worth the wait," cyclist Ted Hindmarsh said.
It's been inconvenient, while it was down, but it has been worth the wait.
–Ted Hindmarsh said.
UDOT actually finished the improved section of trail six months ahead of schedule and included lights in the tunnel to improve safety.
"It's actually really nice," Mike Evans said. "We were going through it and I was commenting how nice the underpass was."
With the path under the freeway open again, joggers and bikers can enjoy the entire 14-mile stretch of trail.
"You get on that trail and it's this network that goes along the river, from the mountains to the lake, and you can enjoy that scenery and feel like you're out in the middle of no place," Provo Mayor John Curtis said.
And the timing couldn't be better for Monte Swain, who jogs the trail weekly, during the spring, summer and fall.
"The more we can get people outdoors and onto the path, it's good for all of us," he said. "This is a great investment in the community."
A community celebration for this new underpass is planned for Saturday morning, and Curtis plans to lead a bike ride from the mouth of Provo Canyon to the freeway on Saturday.