Cotton Belt Trail
The Cotton Belt was the point of old St. Louis Southwestern Railway corridor that linked Texas with Arkansas and Missouri. Utilizing the abandoned railway, JBI Partners helped the City of Waco develop the trail and the railroad theme to recall the history of the site as a major line for the Cotton Belt Railroad.
The Cotton Belt Trail is a 2.5-mile long concrete trail located atop of an old rail line along Highway 84. The trail begins at Trail Blazer Park on Harris Creek Road crosses over the South Bosque River and ends near the Waco Regional Land Fill on Hannah Hill Road. The highlight of the trail is the bridge crossing the South Bosque River which utilized existing elevated railroad trestle structures as pedestrian bridge supports. The bridge has removable concrete panels to provide access to the utility lines below. A curvilinear trail approach from the south provides both accessibility to the bridge and a unique trail experience as users draw near the bridge. The elevated bridge itself provides picturesque views north and south of the Bosque River amid a gorgeous natural landscape setting.
The project included a trail head at each end of the route with park shelters, parking for 10 cars, interpretive signage, site furnishings, and landscaping. The project logos borrow from the Cotton Belt logo and the park shelters are patterned after train platforms.
As part of the design process, JBI master planned a proposed 60-acre community park providing connections and shared facilities for both trail and park users. JBI Partners provided project management and coordination with TxDOT along with all landscape architecture, civil engineering, and field surveying.