Million-dollar mile: Expensive section of trail provokes varied reactions

Price tag for first section of planned 33-mile Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Trail unexpectedly high

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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The sign at the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Trail declares it to be nine-tenths of a mile. County officials later clarified it to be slightly longer -- 5,257 feet, just 23 feet short of a mile -- but let’s just round up and call it a mile.

Then add up what Clark County has spent so far on the railroad trail project, and call it a million-dollar mile.

The $1 million includes a $228,304 federal grant which paid for a study that launched the entire 33-mile project. The first paved mile, from design to final inspection, cost $801,829, for a total of $1,030,133.

The county acknowledges the first segment was more expensive than anticipated, but the price tag hasn’t provoked uniform reactions.

This story was first posted Jan. 29 at 7:19 p.m. Click here to see the full story and comments.