Trail alliance continuing efforts to expand walkable, bike-able network in Boyle

Published 8:48 am Monday, January 29, 2018

South side of Ky. 2168 chosen for trail expansion

The final design for an expansion of the walking and biking trail along Ky. 2168 north of Danville could be finished this summer.

Boyle County officials, engineers with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and representatives for the Danville-Boyle County Trails Alliance have been working to determine where the grant-funded trail expansion can be put and have now settled on the south side of the highway, said Mark Morgan, a member of the trails alliance.

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The goal had been to locate the trail on the north side of Ky. 2168, between Shakertown Road and Gentry Lane, Morgan said.

“But after a lot of discussion, that was impossible because the DOT (Department of Transportation) says they have to reserve that if 2168 is ever expanded to a four-lane. They’re going to need that space,” he said. “Final design will let us know about some of the grades that are a little bit more of a challenge (on the south side). And hopefully, final design can be wrapped up by this summer and then we could go into bids a year from today — for construction bids.”

Morgan said that timeline is possible as long as there are no issues with utilities and the trail can be kept entirely within the state right-of-way.

The trail would be a “similar continuation” of the same trail that already runs along Ky. 2168 to the east of the roundabout at Danville Christian Academy, Morgan said.

Jennifer Kirchner with the trails alliance said the trail will be for walkers and non-motorized vehicles like bikes. ATVs and other powered vehicles would not be allowed, the same as it is for the existing Ky. 2168 trail.

The project is funded by a $300,000 transportation alternatives program (TAP) grant, 20 percent of which is being funded by the Boyle County Fiscal Court. The $60,000 in local match from the fiscal court is split between $30,000 in cash and $30,000 in in-kind donations, such as time spent by the county engineer, work done by the road department or volunteer hours.

The trail is part of a larger master plan from the Danville-Boyle County Trails Alliance that envisions a network of trails criss-crossing Boyle County, allowing walkers and bikers to travel from downtown Danville to more rural areas of the county and back.

Other projects in the works that would add to the trails network include a plan for an educational park at the newly renovated Coldiron-Watkins Water Treatment Plant on Lexington Avenue. Educational signage would be added along trails to go along with the educational material at the water plant park, so that classes or families could learn about the water cycle at the park, then walk the trails to see the actual stages of the water cycle in the real world.

And a new mountain bike trail off of Stewarts Lane North adjacent to Wilderness Trace Child Development Center is being designed as well.

Asked recently by Boyle County Magistrate Phil Sammons about plans for the trails network and whether an equestrian trail could be added, perhaps in the Forkland area, Kirchner said “yes to all of it.”

“We’ve actually got some really knowledgeable people on board now with some equestrian trails and we’re just starting the conversations,” Kirchner said. “I think it’s a huge opportunity for us to have equestrian trails. We’re in Kentucky for crying out loud. But you’d be surprised … at the number of regulations and where horses can go and where horses can’t go and what cleanup and maintenance looks like and all those great things. So we’re investigating.”