Steuben County Multi-USe Trail completion may be just in time for winter

August 19th, 2015

News Coverage:

Trail completion just in time for winter

By Mike Marturello

ANGOLA — The Steuben County Multi-Use Trail might end up getting its completion date pushed into 2016.

The much-delayed project is moving at relatively slow pace due to all of the retaining walls required for the hilly terrain of the trail, which predominantly runs parallel to S.R. 127 from Wendell Jacob Avenue to C.R. 300N, atop Hoosier Hill.

Steuben County Highway Engineer Jen Sharkey said there have been some utility conflicts — it was a fiber optics cut in June 2014 that delayed the project a year — but they have been settled and progress is moving forward.

“What I want to look forward to is the completion of this trail,” said Sharkey, who along with highway Superintendent Emmett Heller are guiding one of the most aggressive highway construction seasons in memory.

Sharkey said it is looking like the trail will be complete by November.

Commissioner Jim Crowl, in a Monday meeting, said he didn’t want to see paving of the trail being done that late in the year because of complications that can be caused by cold weather.

Sharkey said moving the completion to next spring will add cost.

She also is looking forward to the day when the remainder of the trail is complete, a little more than a mile that will take it to its connection with the first leg of the trail completed in Pokagon State Park.

Sharkey estimates the cost of the rest of the trail could be about $1.6 million if it is purely local or about $2 million if it uses federal highway money.

The cost is due to the terrain.

“Unfortunately we have some of the most difficult trail of the system,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sharkey has started discussions with the Angola Parks Department about possibly contracting for snow removal on the Steuben portion of the trail.

“They have the equipment to maintain it,” Sharkey said.

When complete from Angola to the trail head at Hoosier Hill, Steuben County’s portion of the trail will be 1.2 miles. It originates at the trail head at the northeast corner of the Meijer property in Angola, runs along Wendell Jacob Avenue before crossing through the Menards property to S.R. 127 then heading north.

The trail runs along the east side of S.R. 127 before crossing the highway at Hoosier Hill, where there will be a lighted crossing signal. Equipment for the signal is in the process of being installed.