"Bike paths along Kanawha Boulevard and MacCorkle Avenue are the heart of the infrastructure for that plan," Lane said.
A lot will go into designing the proposed two-lane bike path, Molgaard said.
The design firm will have to consider things like how it would affect storm water runoff and how to separate the bike lanes from the four lanes for motorists.
The plan is to build the two-lane bike path along the river side of the Boulevard from Magic Island to Patrick Street. However, the city may not have the funds to construct the entire length, Molgaard said.
"We're hoping to have the resources to do the whole length from Magic Island to Patrick Street," he said. "But we may have to break it up into two or more phases, depending on the cost."
A concrete barrier would be used to separate the bike path from the eastbound lanes of Kanawha Boulevard. The existing bike/walking path along Kanawha Boulevard would be left alone.
City leaders believe they can build the bike path next to the existing trail without eliminating any of the Boulevard's four lanes.
This could be accomplished by reducing the width of the lanes from 12 feet to 10.5 feet and eliminating the 4-foot-wide grass median, Molgaard has said previously.
The 7-foot-wide parking lanes along the sidewalk side would remain, except in spots near Delaware Avenue.
The four firms interviewed on Thursday were: E.L. Robinson Engineering of Cross Lanes; TRC Engineers Inc. of Charleston; Michael Baker Jr. Inc. of Charleston; and Modjeski and Masters of Charleston.
Eight firms expressed interest.
The committee members will negotiate the price for designing the trail once they have determined which firm is best suited for the project, Molgaard said.