Next week the city of Arcata will officially break ground on two big transportation projects – the first leg of the long dreamed-of Humboldt Bay Trail and what the city is calling “the last major new road construction project within Arcata city limits.”

Both are expected to be completed before the year is out.

The Humboldt Bay Trail, which people have been working toward for over a decade, will provide a non-motorized transportation link between Eureka and Arcata, most likely along old railroad tracks on the bay side of the highway. This first stretch of it is an Arcata-only affair. It will run along the railroad right-of-way from just north of Samoa Boulevard to Foster Avenue and Shay Park, near Arcata High and fairly near several elementary schools.

At the same time, construction workers will get working on the Foster Avenue extension project, which will connect Alliance to Sunset Avenue via a more direct route, accessible to trucks. Longtime residents are well familiar with the jog from Sunset through the right-hand turns through the sleepy, residential Eastern and Western avenues, only to emerge onto Alliance. That will soon be a thing of the past. And there’ll be a new roundabout, too!

The projects will get their official launch on April 15 at 3 p.m. The city is holding the celebration at Shay Park (1385 Foster Ave.), a terminus common to each, and the public is invited.