Local

Long-awaited bike trail set to open in 18 months

Chris Rupiper rides his bicycle at Winthrop Lake on Tuesday. The bike trail connecting Winthrop Lake to Rock Hill's Manchester Village could by finished by the end of 2008.
Chris Rupiper rides his bicycle at Winthrop Lake on Tuesday. The bike trail connecting Winthrop Lake to Rock Hill's Manchester Village could by finished by the end of 2008.

A bike trail connecting Winthrop Lake to Rock Hill's Manchester Village could be finished in another 18 months, said one of its principal organizers.

The project has been under way since 2001, but the snag has been building the trail over the railroad crossing at Gateway Boulevard and Poe Street.

"This is an extremely complicated project," said York County Councilman Rick Lee.

The trail over the railroad crossing will be built through York County's Pennies for Progress road improvements program. The crossing will take at least 18 months to finish, Lee said.

Funding for the trail has come from bond measures, recreational grants and the S.C. Department of Transportation. C-funds -- money from gasoline taxes -- also are being used.

The total allocated is more than $450,000, Lee said.

"We are providing people with alternate transportation options, improving air quality and enhancing the quality of life," Lee said.

The trail will be 3.2 miles, said Phil Leazer, transportation manager of the York County engineering department, and it includes a mix of shade, sunlight, and lake sightings.

A little more than a mile remains to be constructed, including painting stripes on University Drive and installing a stoplight on Anderson Road in front of the Baxter Hood Center.

"This trail system will offer many things for many different people," Leazer said.

The project's completion has taken longer than expected, said Kim Deacon, secretary of the Rock Hill Bicycle Club, but he expects it to be beneficial.

"I think it's great," Deacon said. "This is a safer alternative for children riding their bicycles."

In 2001, the trail plan was drawn up by the Rock Hill Bicycle Club in conjunction with York County Council members.

It was designed to provide people with a safer commuting alternative to Manchester Village, and to offer a way for people to exercise en route to shopping. The bike trail also will serve children.

"With this trail, children wouldn't have to wait on their parents to go to Manchester," he said. "They could just hop on their bikes and go."

Fellow York County Councilman Buddy Motz said the trail will serve a growing population. "There's a need for them (bike trails) and there will be a greater need for them in the future," he said.

Motz and Lee both said the safety of bike riders is a high priority.

"Whatever you have, it's gotta be safe," Lee said.

  Comments