Significant growing pains are pending for users of White Rock Lake trails.

Beginning July 13, the Lawther and Northwest Highway intersection will close to all north- and southbound traffic, including pedestrian and bike, for the next two years, Jared White at the Dallas Park Department tells us.

That means that those of us who use the trail to get from Lake Highlands to White Rock Lake are out of luck, for two years. I guess we can travel over Flag Pole Hill and cross at Northwest and Buckner … I don’t know what to think, to be honest. Right now I am just lamenting the loss of my beloved Saturday morning running route.

Anyway, emotions aside, here are a few of the facts: TX DOT will close the construction zone, citing safety precautions, while they work on raising the Northwest Highway bridge above the flood plane. Again, in case you missed it, the estimated time will be two more years. The folks at the Park Department are “working on some ideas” for safely rerouting bikes, runners, etc, Smith says, but have yet to come to a solution they are willing to talk about. The trail from East Dallas/White Rock Lake will end at Northwest Highway. Cyclists coming from south of Northwest Highway will still be able to access Dallas Bike Works; those coming from the north of Northwest will have to find a different route.

We will still be able to drive east and west along Northwest Highway, but it won’t be fun. Two lanes of traffic will be accommodated — we’ll need to refer more specific questions about the staging to TX DOT, Smith says.

He adds that the department is bracing for a flood of questions from (probably upset) residents, most of which Parks will refer to TX DOT.  The Back Talk reader, James Wilson, who first asked us about this seemed as distressed about it as I am. He writes:

The closure of the hike-and-bike trail is a severe blow to runners and cyclists from all over North and Northeast Dallas.  There isn’t another place for cyclists and runners to cross Northwest Highway without going through the neighborhood to the intersection of Northwest Highway and Buckner/Audelia.  And that intersection is way more dangerous than W. Lawther and Northwest. Boy Scouts Troop 890 in Lake Highlands uses the trail every summer for Scouts to complete their Cycling, Athletics, Sports, and Personal Fitness merit badges, and for their annual Triathlon on Labor Day weekend.  My son participated a few years ago, and I was OK with him riding down the trail and crossing at Lawther – there’s no way I’d let him ride and cross at Buckner. Not to mention the impact it’s going to have on Dallas Bike Works, who just relocated to the old PT’s strip club building between CC Young and Centennial.  This will absolutely KILL their ride-up business.

The construction will no doubt end in far better accommodations for all of us, but that end now looks so far away. Ugh.