The development process for trails will vary from community to community and project to project. Still, it is useful to have a sense of the typical process and the main steps involved in trail development. The diagram to the right outlines these steps.
Costs can vary widely from state to state and also from site to site. Cost information should only be used for estimates and not necessarily for determining actual bid prices for a specific infrastructure project.
The table on the following page includes suggested costs to be used when making planning-level estimates for baseline infrastructure for multi-use trails, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks in the Mid-South region as well as additional infrastructure features that may be beneficial or required to facilitate the development of the regional network.
The figure of $777,000 per mile for multi-use trail construction is based upon the average actual cost of trail construction for four recent peer projects in Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina. Design and administration costs are listed separately as observed industry standards in the form of percentages of total construction costs.
Land acquisition costs are not included as this cost varies for multiple reasons due to cost of land in different locations and
due to different ways public right-of-way is secured for trails, ranging from purchase to negotiated easements. For more information on this topic, see further discussion in the Guide for Implementing Regional Open Space and Trail Infrastructure.
As the regional network grows, responsibility for operations and maintenance will grow, as well. Actual costs will vary depending on a number of factors, but generally annual routine costs for operations and maintenance of multi-use or greenway trails may range from less than $3,000 to over $7,000 per mile.
These costs assume a crew size using a guideline of one full-time employee per 15 miles of trail. Routine cleanup or monitoring of facility conditions are often handled by volunteers and maintenance crews. Further, organizations should budget for resurfacing of trails after a 20-25 year life span for paved, multi-use trails.
A more detailed implementation guide is under development.