KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A long-awaited bike and pedestrian trail just a few weeks away from opening.
It's completion will create a 13.5 mile stretch of trail through Jackson County, stretching from Lee's Summit, running through downtown Raytown, and ending at the Truman Sports Complex.
The county acquired the rail corridor in 2016, started construction on the path in 2018.
The project faced several setbacks, including legal challenges.
A 6.5 mile southern portion opened in 2019.
Matt Davis, the project manager, said the trail averages 200-300 users a day. On days with nicer weather, he said, its use has been much higher.
"To see people using it and loving it makes you feel good," Davis said.
Davis said the county is tentatively planning to open the completed northern portion, an additional 7 mile stretch, in early June. Portions of it are already rideable. At least two passing riders interrupted KCTV5's interview with Davis, who took us behind the scenes to see it.
He cautioned users against riding on unfinished sections of the path, still busy with heavy machinery and workers.
"We want to make sure we keep it safe for everyone and complete it in a timely manner," Davis said.
Even on a chilly Friday we found a lot of cyclists enjoying the southern route.
Blake McKinney, a local pastor, started riding the trail almost daily since the pandemic began.
"I love the fact that you're in the middle of town but it feels like you're in the middle of nowhere," he said.
McKinney was excited to see the northern half nearing completion, too. The path winds through downtown Raytown, past local restaurants and breweries, and hits the southern edge of the parking lot at the Truman Sports Complex.
Since bicycles typically don't have to pay for parking at Chiefs or Royals games, an ambitious rider could hypothetically ride to or from an event conveniently.
"I'm looking forward to riding to the stadium just to say I did," McKinney said.