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PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Major renovations to the Echo Canyon summit trail are set to start in another week and will close the park until tentatively completed in the fall.
The renovation project will close Echo Canyon on Jan. 28, and construction will start shortly after that date. The project is set to enhance safety in the parking lot and improve the trail for hikers.
CBS 5 spoke with many hikers who said it's about time the area got an overhaul.
"Parking here is a nightmare," said Scottsdale hiker Cindy Hoffman.
The parking lot will go from 68 parking spots to 132. Walkways will also be added throughout the parking area for hiker safety.
A roundabout will be added at the park entrance to help control vehicle speeds entering the park.
"It's really important for someone to be able to come and go from their home and not have to worry about tourists or fire trucks or ambulances on a regular basis," said Scottsdale hiker John Hill.
Once the project is complete, there will be separate entrances to the park and to the neighboring residential area.
A permanent restroom is being added to the trailhead for hikers.
The project will also renovate, reroute and rebuild the popular summit trail to eliminate erosion prone areas, improve footing and increase long-term sustainability for the mountain. The trail renovation will help with the heavy foot traffic on the trail.
The cost of the project is estimated at $3 million, which is to be funded by the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative.
The Cholla Trail will remain open during construction, but hikers will not be able to continue down the Echo Canyon trail from the summit because it will be closed for renovations.
Park officials said people caught trespassing will be ticketing and could be arrested.
Visitors can see the progress of the project by checking the Parks and Recreation Department's website at phoenix.gov/parks.
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