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Trail Connecting Jamestown, Sonora, And Columbia Gaining Momentum

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Sonora, CA — The first phase of the planned Gold Rush Path has received nearly $6 million in state grant funding, and plans are actively being developed for the trail system that will eventually span from Jamestown, over through Sonora, and up to Columbia.

It is a joint project between the Tuolumne County Transportation Council, Tuolumne County, the City of Sonora, Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians, and the Tuolumne County Blue Zones project.

The total cost of the 14-mile trail is estimated to be as high as $20 million.

The first section to be constructed will be in Sonora, starting at the new bus stops on Stockton Street and stretching down to the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, then through Woods Creek Rotary Park, and over near Sonora High School.

Providing an update, Tuolumne County Transportation Council Executive Director Darin Grossi states, “We are starting the environmental and plan approval phase, and we have about $5.6 million in funding for that project already secured from the state. It (money) should take us through the construction of the first phase.”

Asked for a timeline on Phase 1, Grossi says, “We have about a two-year window for environmental review, probably about another year for right-of-way acquisition, and then it is a one-to-two-year construction timeframe.”

Phase 2 will then run from Sonora High School to Parrotts Ferry Road.

Grossi notes, “We have secured $270,000 to begin to plan how that pathway would work its way through the high school area, popping out at Highway 49, and extending northward to the Pedro Wye (Highway 49 and Parrotts Ferry Road intersection). That’s a (planning) project we will be starting in earnest in May or June and will be wanting a lot of public input on how that section of highway should be built out.”

Phase 3 will then eventually go from Parrotts Ferry Road, over to Columbia College, and connect to downtown Columbia, possibly making a loop there.

Simultaneously, Grossi notes that Chicken Ranch Rancheria is developing plans for a connecting segment, with help from state grant funding, that will start near the casino, head over to downtown Jamestown, and eventually connect with the First Phase near the fairgrounds.

Timelines for the overall total project will depend on funding availability, as the partners are anticipating receiving a variety of state grant sources to carry out construction.

You can read a nine page project overview by clicking here.

Grossi also encourages people to follow the project’s progress here.