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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette The Allen County Board of Commissioners and representatives of Fort Wayne Trails cut a ribbon at a ceremony marking the end of the West Hamilton Road bridge and trail project Wednesday.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 1:00 am

Bridge, trail in Aboite finished

Ceremony touts end of 5-mile-loop work

Journal Gazette

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday heralded the opening of a new bridge and trail section on West Hamilton Road in southwest Allen County.

A reinforced concrete bridge replaces the previous single-span bridge just south of Indiana 14 across Beal Taylor Ditch, local officials said in a news release.

The new bridge is 63 feet wide and 78 feet long and has two 12-foot lanes. Construction of the four-tenths-of-a-mile trail section completes the 5-mile trail loop along Covington, Illinois, Scott and Hamilton roads that was a goal of the “Oprah's Big Give” campaign. It connects residents to schools, shopping, restaurants, parks and other destinations.

“It's always a good thing when we can combine projects like this for the benefit of our citizens,” Commissioner Therese Brown said in a statement. “We appreciate the patience of those who regularly travel on this road so we could provide a new trail section and a safer bridge.”

Kent Castleman, executive director of Fort Wayne Trails, said filling gaps in the system to help with connectivity is a priority.

“We appreciate partners like the Allen County commissioners and highway department who are willing to make an investment in the system to help fill gaps like this one,” he said.

The construction contract was awarded by the commissioners last August to Primco Inc., which submitted the low bid of $1.1 million.

At Wednesday's ceremony, Fort Wayne Trails presented a $100,000 check to the commissioners. The organization successfully applied for funding for the Pufferbelly Trail from the Bicentennial Nature Trust in addition to a portion of the fundraising dollars from the recent “100-Mile Campaign.”

The Nature Trust was created to preserve and protect important conservation and recreation areas throughout Indiana by matching donations of land or dollars. Property acquired with this fund for the Pufferbelly Trail north of Hathaway Road and south of Gump Road has become part of the public trust to ensure “that the land is protected for future generations of Hoosiers to use and enjoy,” the news release said.

Fort Wayne Trails continues to partner with the Allen County Highway Department, Allen County Parks and Recreation and Huntertown to complete the connectivity between Life Bridge Church and Gump Road.

The right of way is owned by the county, and there is currently a wetland delineation study being performed by VS Engineering. Once completed, a proposal for full trail design will go to the commissioners for approval in late June. Construction on portions of the trail are tentatively scheduled for early 2019.