The Shoal Creek hike and bike trail is closed near Fifth Street while crews close a gap on the trail. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

Heads up, bike commuters.

If you take the Shoal Creek hike and bike trail into downtown like I do, you know the southern end of the trail has been closed for the last few months.

The closure is related to the Shoal Creek Gap Project, which will ultimately close a gap between a bank on the west side of Shoal Creek and the existing trail. The $6.2-million project includes relocation of water and wastewater lines, bank stabilization, trail lighting and a shared use bridge spanning the creek at Fourth Street and Rio Grande.

In the end we’ll have a sweet new trail, but in the meantime, bike commuters have to detour onto surface streets to get to the Lance Armstrong Bikeway. The stairs connecting the trail to the bikeway near Fifth Street are blocked off.

The bottom of the stairway had to be removed in order to start construction of the new trail, which will tie into the stair landing, says Alexa Muraida of the city’s public works department. Activity will pick up speed this month, as crews demolish and replace a limestone wall in the area.

The staircase should reopen in September.

In the meantime, when I’m heading south, I pop up to Ninth Street and cut down West Avenue to the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, then jog over to San Antonio Street. That takes me down to Cesar Chavez and back to the trail. A hassle, but doable.

For more details go here.