Route plans for the rail trail connector in Randolph County have now been finalized. The project will connect the Allegheny Highlands Trail with the Elkins Train Depot.
After an extensive research of several different alternatives, a final route was announced on Monday.
"We came back as committee of the development authority. We held stakeholder meetings, asked for input on the five routes, and we had selected a route," said Robbie Morris, executive director of Randolph County Development Authority.
The route will add about one mile to the 25-mile trail. It will continue along the east side of Route 219, and proceed to the intersection where the Elkins Walgreens and the Veterans Memorial are located. The West Virginia Division of Highways has agreed to change the lights in that intersection.
"When the crossing is activated, it will stop that intersection completely. One of our concerns was there was always traffic moving in that intersection. Rights on reds and so forth, but when that is activated, there will be no rights on red allowed," Morris said.
Trail users then will proceed down to the corner of Fifth Street and Railroad Avenue. They can cross there and head down to the train depot.
Recreational tourism is a big attraction in Elkins and Randolph County. Morris said that's why they want to enhance the rail trail connector to bring more people in.
Morris said connecting the trail to the depot, will provide a safe, and scenic route all the way from Elkins to Parsons.
"You'll be downtown, can conduct business there and then you can get on your bike, walk or do whatever you want to, and have a safe, clearly marked route to get on the Allegheny Highlands Trail," Morris said.
The final design documents have to be approved by the WVDOH. Morris said he's looking for the project to be put out for bid in early 2015 with construction to begin in Spring 2015.