WHITTIER — Whittier’s plans for a new hiking and biking trail through town leave resident Tom Wood worried he won’t be able to hear anything over the din of barking dogs. Wood’s back yard borders a 5- mile stretch of abandoned train tracks that the city bought from Union Pacific Railroad in 2001 for the purpose of building the trail. “I just worry about the noise,’ Wood said. “I already have to close my doors to keep from hearing my neighbors’ dogs now. Imagine how noisy it will be when we’ve got all those people and dogs running back and forth behind here.’ Seven years in the planning stage, the estimated $8.5 million “Greenway Trail’ project’s design plans were finally approved by the Whittier City Council last week. The council also authorized opening construction bids for the trail. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Next month, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is expected to release final funding for the project. Caltrans had previously approved some state grant money for the trail. City Councilman Bob Henderson said the city is now working on extending the trail at both of its ending places to the San Gabriel River on the west end and to a similar trail in La Habra on the east end of the trail. “We’re in negotiations with the railroad to get a portion of active railroad for a connection with La Habra’s trail,’ Henderson said. “That would extend it by six miles. Right now, we don’t have a direct connection to the river, but we’re working on something that would enable us to connect to the bike trails along the river. We’re just not there yet.’ The trail now runs south from Beverly Boulevard along Pioneer Boulevard, turns east over the “Five Points’ intersection, then follows Lambert Avenue to where it ends at Mills Avenue. Henderson said following the usual three-month bidding process, construction on the trail is scheduled to begin in January. A completion date for the trail is set for early 2007, according to a city staff report. The lengthy process of initiating the project included the bidding process for the land, acquisition of state funds from various sources such as the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Caltrans and the National Park Service, and property negotiations with land owners along the path. Whittier resident Ellen Hale, 79, attended many of the meetings with city officials when the idea for the trail was first proposed. As a 52-year neighbor of the tracks, Hale also worried about barking dogs excited by the activity of passing pedestrians, bikes and pets. But she also thinks the trail ultimately will enhance the look of the city. “I think it will make my dog bark a lot,’ Hale said. “But the abandoned tracks look so terrible, and the new trail will really make it look so much better. And maybe I’ll walk on it, too.’ Pam Wight can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029, or by e-mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!