After more than two decades of creation, the Isle of Wight County portion of the Park-to-Park Trail from Carrollton to Smithfield is finally complete and open to the public.
The 10-foot-wide, $ 8.6 million-wide asphalt bike and pedestrian path now stretches 3.1 miles along Nike Park and Battery Park roads. A city-funded segment will eventually extend the path along South Church Street and across the Cypress Creek Bridge in Smithfield to connect Nike Park to Windsor Castle grounds.
“The trail is not finished, but we look forward to working with Smithfield to complete the last 1 mile segment,” Dick Grice, chair of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors said at a ceremony inauguration on June 21.
Plans for the trail began around the turn of the millennium, he said, when a small group of county residents came up with the idea for a bike path at the northern end of the county. In 2001, the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce became one of the first champions of the project. In 2005, the county’s parks and recreation department also approved the idea.
According to county officials, 69% of the project’s funding – around $ 5.9 million – comes from grants and private funding obtained in 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2016. In 2017, the Isle of Wight County a incurred local taxes to fund the remaining costs, which amount to approximately $ 2.7 million.
The project was originally budgeted at $ 4.1 million, of which over $ 4 million came from grants. In 2017, bids for construction went over budget by around $ 2 million, leading county officials to reallocate the money they had planned to spend on repairing Route 620, which stretches just outside Smithfield to the county border of the Isle of Wight at Southampton. near the town of Ivor.
“This is the largest locally administered transportation project the county has succeeded to date in terms of size, scope and cost,” said Judy Winslow, director of the city and county shared tourism department. .
“But this was not done without the cooperation and support of several federal, state, county and city of Smithfield agencies,” Grice said. “With persistent and dedicated business entrepreneurs, it has truly been a team effort – a team effort that deserves our appreciation.
Construction on the county-funded portions of the trail began in 2017. According to Winslow, the county actually saved $ 400,000 off the costs of the original contract by securing more grant funds during the construction process.
The trail, she said, was designed to meet or exceed all U.S. disability law standards. Construction was also planned outside of bat hibernation, eagle nesting and sturgeon spawning periods in order to minimize environmental impacts. The height of the wooden road bridge over Jones Creek, which some have criticized for obstructing the view of the creek from the road, was specifically calculated to avoid direct or indirect impacts on Jones Creek wetlands, including the impacts of creating additional shade, Winslow said. .
“When completed, the trail will really provide a great ecological opportunity to take in all of the natural beauty that we as residents of the County of the Isle of Wight love,” said Winslow.
Construction of the city-funded trail segment through Smithfield has yet to begin and no date has yet been set for its inauguration. In 2019, Smithfield’s share is expected to cost between $ 2.5 million and $ 3.3 million. It is proposed that the city segment of the trail be eight feet wide instead of 10.
Jamie Oliver, Isle of Wight transport manager, served as project manager for the county funded parties. According to Christopher Hall, district engineer for the Hampton Roads district of the Virginia Department of Transportation, about 77% of VDOT programs at Hampton Roads are delivered by local partners.
“It’s a great example of how it works,” he said.