Another piece of the 100-plus-mile multiple-use path known as The Loop has been completed — creating a new mile-long trail segment along the Santa Cruz River between Drexel and Valencia roads.

A ceremony dedicating the trail will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 12, on the west bank of the river at Drexel Road.

“It provides that missing connection from Drexel Road south to Valencia Road,” making the popular Loop route more easily accessible to residents of the south side, said Sandi Garrick, Pima County project manager for the new trail segment. The county oversees The Loop, with segments tracing watercourses around the Tucson metro area and extending northwest and southeast of the city.

Garrick said the new trail, known as the Midvale Park section of The Loop, consists of a 16-foot-wide asphalt path and an adjacent “soft” path of decomposed granite along much of the way. It will be open to all non-motorized users.

Planning for the $1.1 million bond-funded project took place over several years, and construction began in September, Garrick said.

Saturday ceremony

Several county and city officials, including Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, are scheduled to speak at the Saturday event to celebrate completion of the new segment.

Garrick said the first 100 children to arrive will receive free bicycle helmets and bicycle bells.

Bicycle safety information, Loop maps and Neighborhood Watch information will be available.

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