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Yountville-St. Helena Vine Trail link in design phase

The Napa County Supervisors agreed this week to take the first steps in designing a final alignment of the Vine Trail’s link between St. Helena and Yountville. Referred to as the “missing piece,”...

Proposed project map for Yountville to St. Helena Construction. (Retrieved from vintrail.org).

The Napa County Supervisors agreed this week to take the first steps in designing a final alignment of the Vine Trail’s link between St. Helena and Yountville.

Referred to as the “missing piece,” the 11-mile segment is the last large remaining section in the 47-mile bike and pedestrian path that will connect the entire Napa Valley to the greater Bay Area.

The St. Helena and Yountville section is anticipated to be completed in mid-2024. Graham Wadsworth, an engineer with the Napa County Public Works Department, said an outside consultant will now begin the initial work of laying out the trail, documenting the complexities of the alignment, and preparing the blueprints needed for construction.

The cost of the project is estimated to be around $30 million. The route is expected to require the construction of five bridges, eight railroad crossings, and numerous drainage culverts.

The project is anticipated to include a Vista Point parking lot along the west side of Highway 29, across from the north end of Washington Street.

Once the design work is finished, Wadsworth said, the documents will be submitted to the California Department of Transportation for review and approval. A 12.5-mile link between Yountville and Kennedy Park in Napa has been open since 2018 and regularly attracts more than 520,000 users annually.

The northern section between Calistoga and St. Helena is not expected to be finished until next spring or early summer. Meanwhile, the project received a major financial boost of $2.5 million from the Clif Family Foundation, based in Napa Valley.

Kit Crawford, co-founder of the foundation and Clif Bar & Company, said in a statement that the Vine Trail represents "an exciting opportunity to ensure everyone in Napa Valley can enjoy and have access to the outdoors."

The foundation money comes in addition to a $4 million federal grant awarded earlier this year that has been used to do some preliminary studies of the Yountville section.

Expectations are that a cost-sharing agreement – between Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition, the county, and the cities of Yountville and St. Helena – will be needed before construction can begin on the project.

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