The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Work on extending Gateway Trail to Bessemer continues


July 30, 2016

IRONWOOD - As residents continue to use the Western Gateway Trail in Ironwood, work continues to extend the popular trail into Bessemer.

The first section of the trail runs from the Montreal River to Ironwood's eastern city limit, with the next section extending to Bessemer's Moore Street.

Paul Anderson, a project manager with Coleman Engineering who has been working on trail development in the area, said work on Phase 2 of the trail is scheduled to be completed by the end of this construction season.

"We're shooting to have it done by the end of October, by the end of fall," Anderson said.

The trail is still a few weeks from being paved, Anderson said, with Ruotsala Construction currently working on replacing culverts and preparing the sub-grade prior to paving.

When complete, the trail will be similar to the one in Ironwood; although he said the second phase will include some additional bridge crossings, picnic tables, benches and an overlook deck.

Once the trail into Bessemer is completed, there will be two additional phases.

The next phase, which will extend the trail to approximately Ramsay before continuing on to Sunday Lake in Wakefield in the final phase.

The timeline for these final phases remains uncertain as negotiations over use of the rail grade continue, Anderson said. Unlike the first two phases of the trail, the remaining grade has a variety of owners.

"We're talking to land owners," Anderson. "The (Department of Natural Resources) purchased the grade (between Ironwood and Bessemer) about seven years ago."

The DNR's purchase removed a hurdle from the completion of the trail's first two phases, but Anderson said ongoing talks with the owners of the next sections continue to progress.

The trail is ultimately expected to be the most westerly part of the statewide Iron Belle Trail running between Ironwood and Belle Isle in Detroit.


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