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Trail canopy protects Arizona Trail travelers near Tucson
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Trail canopy protects Arizona Trail travelers near Tucson

Hikers, equestrians and cyclists on a segment of the cross-state Arizona Trail southeast of Tucson will encounter something that many have never experienced: a trail canopy.

And what, you might wonder, is a trail canopy?

It’s a protective device — covering the trail at a point where the route passes beneath a railroad bridge — that’s designed to shield trail users should anything fall off the bridge or a passing train.

“It’s adding an extra wide margin of safety for the area,” said Valerie Samoy, special staff assistant with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation.

The agency and County Supervisor Ray Carroll are holding a dedication ceremony for the canopy and other safety improvements at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at the bridge site. It’s along Marsh Station Road north of Interstate 10. See accompanying map for directions.

STEEL PROTECTION

The trail canopy is 10 feet wide and 75 feet long, Samoy said. “It’s made of steel with a rusted finish.

Cost of the canopy project, funded in part by 1997 general obligation bonds, was $80,000.

CROSSWALK IS DESIGNED FOR SAFETY

Added safety features at the site include a crosswalk on Marsh Station Road, speed-reduction signs, trail-crossing warning signs and solar-powered flashing lights that can be activated by trail users on either side of the roadway.

The cost of the crossing project was $40,000.

Samoy said the canopy has been in place for about a year. The crossing project was completed last month, so dedication ceremonies were set for this month to cover both projects, she said.

Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation partnered on the projects with the Union Pacific Railroad and the Arizona Trail Association.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at dkreutz@tucson.com or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz


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