HOUSTON -

The City of Houston is getting some help completing several major hike and bike trail projects.

The Parks and Recreation Department has received four Transportation Enhancement Program grants totaling $6,594,406 to go toward finishing the projects.

Three of the four funded projects will connect existing trails, parks, bus and METRO rail stops, and neighborhoods along Brays Bayou. The fourth will tie into an ongoing flood control project on Hunting Bayou.

"These four grants will help us provide Houstonians with connections to existing off-road trails that will have long lasting positive impact on current and future generations," said Mayor Annise Parker. "This helps toward our goal of stringing our green spaces together to provide expanded recreation options and improved quality of life for our residents."

The estimated total overall project cost is $12.6 million: $6.6 million in Federal funds and a combination of public and private funds of $6 million for the local match.

The four projects include:

Mason Park Pedestrian Bike Bridge -- The construction of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Brays Bayou, along with 200 feet of new trail on each bank, will link existing paths with neighborhoods, business districts, and community service institutions.

University Connection -- This project will provide a safe pedestrian/bicycle crossing for Brays Bayou near two new light rail transit centers, two universities, and many neighborhoods in the MacGregor Park area. It will connect paths along Brays Bayou and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Hunting Bayou Gaps -- This project will connect 1.5 miles of trails along Hunting Bayou with one mile of new construction. It will use work underway as a Harris County Flood Control project to connect Mickey Leland and Hutcheson Parks.

Hermann Park/Brays Bayou Connectors -- These trails are part of a comprehensive plan to connect 35 miles of existing trails stretching from the Houston Ship Channel to West Houston. It will complete heavily used trails in Hermann Park and increase pedestrian connection to several universities and the Texas Medical Center.