New statewide trail link completed

Jane BeathardGalloway, Ohio – Officials from Madison and Franklin counties gathered on the banks of Big Darby Creek on March 21 to dedicate the final link in the southern portion of the Ohio to Erie Trail.

That link, dubbed phase one of the Camp Chase Trail, runs 5.25 miles from Wilson Road in eastern Madison County, over the confluence of Big and Little Darby creeks, to the canoe access at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park in western Franklin County.

The $4.8 million project included construction of a new bike lane along the Alkire Road Bridge over Big Darby Creek near Georgesville. Franklin County Metro Parks supplied $1.2 million of the money, with the state capital budget and the Ohio to Erie Trail Fund making up the balance. The Friends of Madison County Parks & Trails donated $10,000.

The dedication ceremony marked a milestone in construction of the 300-mile recreational trail that will eventually connect the Ohio River in Cincinnati to the Lake Erie waterfront in Cleveland. About 240 trail miles are complete. Remaining miles are slated for completion in the next few years.

Opening of the newest link allows cyclists and other trail users to travel on a continuous paved path from Cincinnati to the west side of Columbus. Earlier in March, the metro park system approved contracts for the second phase of the Camp Chase Trail, which will extend the paved bikeway an additional 2.4 miles into the Village of Galloway by November.

The final phase of the trail will run three miles from Galloway to Sullivant Avenue and come within a mile of the Hollywood Columbus Casino, now under construction on Columbus' western edge. Completion of the entire Camp Chase Trail is tentatively set for 2013.

Trail planners in Madison and Franklin counties are also looking to connect at least a portion of the Ohio to Erie Trail to a larger federal trails project called the U.S. Route 50 Trail that will run from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco. Plans for that national trail are currently forming in the nation's capital

Categories: Ohio – Jane Beathard

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