Long-awaited, debated trail work to begin

Published 11:47 am Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Groundbreaking slated Thursday at Nike Park

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

After more than 10 years of planning, a groundbreaking is scheduled for the Nike Park bike trail on Thursday, Nov. 9.

The event will be held from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. at Carrollton Nike Park. A community meeting will follow from 5-7 p.m. at the park and is designed to let residents review the project plans and meet with the project team prior to construction.

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The groundbreaking is for the three-mile portion of the trail that runs from Nike Park along Nike Park Road to Battery Park Road, and along Battery Park Road to the intersection of S. Church Street in Smithfield. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The trail will consist of a 10-foot path of asphalt from Nike Park to Battery Park Road along Nike Park Road. The portion that runs along Battery Park Road will be an 8-foot strip of asphalt.  

The $6 million project, administered by Isle of Wight County, is expected to take 12-18 months and construction will begin this month. The project is being paid for with a combination of state and local funding — including using money that was slated for improvements along Route 620.

The decision to move those monies was made after bids on the bike trail project came in $2 million over budget earlier this year. The project includes a bridge over Jones Creek along Nike Park Road.

The final portion of the trail, which is to connect the trail from South Church Street with the Cypress Creek Bridge in Smithfield, is a town project. The Smithfield Town Council is in the midst of studying several possible routes between those two points.

Efforts to build a bike and pedestrian trail from Nike Park to Smithfield have been underway since 2006. The plan was to increase connectivity throughout the county.

The plan has not been without opposition. Detractors have pointed to the cost of the project, the need to obtain rights-of-way of property owners along the trail’s route, the potential environmental impact and that it may have to be replaced if and when Battery Park and Nike Park roads are widened.  {/mprestriction}