Winter Construction Update
With winter here, actual trail construction on the Border To Border Trail has slowed down- but has not stopped, but planning, engineering and funding work is expected to continue at a busy pace. For an area map of existing and proposed B2B Trail projects, click here.
Northwest B2B Segment
On December 8th, a grand opening celebration was held north of Chelsea for the newest section of the B2B Trail, a 2.6 mile segment parallel to M-52 from Werkner Road to the Greek Lake Campground. The event, hosted by The Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative and Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, drew over 100 local, regional and state officials and area residents. Additional landscaping and trail signage along this new route is planned for the spring. The next phase of this project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2019 to build two new B2B Trail segments: Green Lake Campground north to North Territorial Road, and North Territorial Road north to Leeks Road in Jackson County, for a total distance of 5.5 miles. The work includes earthwork, vegetation removal, and construction of the asphalt trail, boardwalk, and other related improvements. The project will begin this winter with tree and brush removals. Path construction will occur later this summer, with an expected completion in the fall. The eventual goal is to extend the pathway to Stockbridge to meet up with the Lakeland/Great Lake-To-Lake Trail (https://tinyurl.com/GreatLtoL). For a map of this segment, click here.
Chelsea To Dexter
Preliminary construction (brush clearing and minor grading) began in November on the first off-road B2B Trail segment between Chelsea and Dexter. This new segment will be from Freer Road on the northeast side of Chelsea, to Lima Center Road, a distance of 2.1 miles on the south side of the railroad tracks parallel to Dexter-Chelsea Road. For a map of this segment, click here.
For the remainder of the Chelsea to Dexter B2B Trail from Lima Center Road east to Parker Road, Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission staff and a consultant team are exploring various route options and will be having public input opportunities sometime in the future. For the trail from Parker Road east to the City of Dexter, a consultant team will be exploring various route options to connect from Mill Creek Park in Dexter to the planned connection point near the intersection of Wylie Road and Dexter-Chelsea Road. Public input opportunities are also planned for this segment.
B2B directional signs have been installed in Dexter from Central Street (where the B2B from Dexter Huron Metropark stops) to Mill Creek Park (where the B2B heads north into Hudson Mills Metropark).
Also, this spring look for a bicycle repair stand and air pump to be installed in Mill Creek Park close to the B2B Trail, courtesy of the grant from the REI Co-Op to the Friends of the Border To Border Trail.
Hudson Mills Metropark To The Lakeland Trail
The Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission is continuing to work with the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA), Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative (HWPI), Livingston County officials, and other agencies to determine a potential trail route that would continue the B2B from Hudson Mills Metropark, north to the Lakelands Trail. Such a connection from Hudson Mills to the Lakeland Trail would create a 44-mile loop trail that would use the B2B and Lakeland Trails. Please note that on the map below the routing shown from Hudson Mills Metropark north to the Lakeland Trail is one potential routing and may not be the final route.
Dexter Huron Metropark East to Zeeb Road
This project will begin construction in early 2019 with a groundbreaking the morning of February 9th (details will be posted on the event in the Friends web and Facebook pages). The winter start of construction on this and other trail projects allows for trail right-of-way clearing before migrating and hibernating species become active in warmer weather. This B2B segment begins in Dexter-Huron Metropark and ends at the intersection of Zeeb Road and Huron River Drive (1.2 miles). The trail is mostly within the Metropark but also includes portions in the railroad and road rights of way. The work includes two new pedestrian bridges over the Huron River, earthwork, vegetation removal, paving, boardwalk, and other related improvements. The river may be temporarily closed for safety reasons while placing the bridges. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019. For a map of this area, click here.
Zeeb Road East To Dehli Metropark
This B2B project is currently in a very active final engineering and design phase as preliminary designs, environmental and archeological research has been completed. Also, feedback on the route was given on January 9th at a Public Information meeting at the Dexter Library. This 1.8 mile trail section begins at the intersection of Zeeb Road and Huron River Drive and is proposed to roughly parallel the railroad on the south side of Huron River Drive to Delhi Metropark. Construction may occur as soon as 2020. For a map of the proposed project, click here. Also, please note that trees in this B2B segment area have been tagged as part of the survey process. These tree tags are for inventory purposes only and do not necessarily indicate tree removal.
Bandemer Park Area
The Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission and the City of Ann Arbor have hired an engineering firm to perform a feasibility study to construct a pedestrian and non-motorized tunnel underneath the Michigan Department of Transportation railroad tracks at the north end of Bandemer Park. Additionally, the team will explore options for routing the trail through Barton Nature Area to connect to the parking lot south of Barton Dam, approximately 0.6 miles. Public information meetings will be held in the future for public input opportunities.
On December 18th, the Ypsilanti City Council voted unanimously in favor of a written partnership with the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission to build two new off-road sections of the B2B Trail in the City: in Frog Island Park to move the Trail off road and next to the Huron River, and along Grove Road to move the Trail off road in a separated-from-traffic pathway on the west side of the street. The City agreed to pay $20,000 from a State grant for Trail planning that has already been awarded to the City and in return the WCP&RC will pledge $850,000 to $900,000. Construction is expected in 2019 or 2020. Construction funds come primarily from a four-year County road and trails millage approved by 71% of the voters in 2016.
Far Eastern B2B Trail
The B2B Trail in eastern Washtenaw County currently ends at an existing paved pathway on the east side of Bridge Road at North Hydro Park in Ypsilanti Township. The completed B2B Trail to the eastern border of Washtenaw County at Rawsonville Road will connect the B2B Trail to the Iron Belle Trail in Wayne County.
The Iron Belle Trail is a project of the State of Michigan to establish both a hiking/walking trail and a separate bicycling path from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula. The name “Iron Belle” comes from the Trail going from Ironwood (the “Iron”) to Detroit’s Belle Isle Park in the Detroit River (the “Belle”). Washtenaw County’s B2B Trail is on the Iron Belle hiking/walking trail segment. The projected routing of the Iron Belle Trail in southeast Michigan has the hiking/walking segment starting at Belle Isle and roughly following the Detroit River southbound to Lake Erie Metropark, where the Trail makes a sharp turn northwest along existing paved pathways until it meets up with the very southern part of Oakwoods Metropark. There, the Iron Belle uses the interconnected Oakwoods, Willow and Lower Huron Metropark paved paths to the north end of Lower Huron Park. Six miles west of this point is the Washtenaw County line, where the Border To Border Trail eastern terminus will be. So, before any final plan on how to route the last few eastern miles of B2B Trail is made in Washtenaw County, Wayne County, and more specifically Van Buren Township and the City of Belleville, will need to finalize the routing for the 6-mile “trail gap” between Rawsonville Road and the northern tip of Lower Huron Metropark.
Along those lines, the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission is working with Van Buren Township and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Iron Belle Trail office. In addition, the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative is offering support, including financial assistance from private donations, to help close this 6-mile gap. While progress can be slow, once the Wayne County 6-mile gap is closed, and B2B construction is complete in Washtenaw County, it will be possible for someone in Chelsea, for example, to ride a bicycle off road on non-motorized trails all the way to Lake Erie, and when the Iron Belle Trail is complete, from Lake Erie all the way to the western end of the Upper Peninsula on the bike route and then hike back to Chelsea on the hike route!