The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Western Gateway Trail hits road block in Bessemer


August 18, 2016

BESSEMER — As work on the second phase of the Western Gateway Trail progresses from Ironwood to Moore Street in Bessemer, the authority governing the trail found out Wednesday the later phases of the project may have hit a road block.

In Bessemer, the authority is negotiating with Pat Steiger to allow the trail to pass through his property on the western end of the city. Authority member Rob Coleman said Steiger recently pulled his property “off the table as long as Kathy Whitburn is mayor.”

“I talked to Pat a lot. He wants the trail to go through, but he doesn’t want Whitburn leading our city,” Coleman reported at Wednesday’s meeting. “We’re on hold as far as that goes.”

Steiger’s property is located in the trail’s third phase — planned to run from Moore Street to Ramsay. The fourth and final phase is expected to bring the trail from Ramsay to Sunday Lake in Wakefield. Earlier versions of the trail’s schedule combined these final two phases.

The authority also received a construction update on the progress of Phase 2, which runs from the Ironwood city limit to Moore Street.

Coleman Engineering Project Manager Paul Anderson said culvert replacement along Phase 2 has been completed.

Anderson added gravel pouring is complete up to the bridge west of Puritan Road in Bessemer, which is “roughly halfway” to Moore Street.

The section is a still a couple weeks away from being paved, Anderson said, but Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed by the end of construction season in October.

Even without Steiger’s decision to prevent the trail from running through his property, the schedule for the final two phases is up in the air as negotiations need to be completed with other property owners on the route.

Further along the planned trail route, the authority is seeking to purchase property that runs along the railroad grade from Balsams, LLC, for $1,500.

Once completed, the trail is expected to be the western end of the Iron Belle Trail — which will run from Ironwood to Belle Isle in Detroit.

Discussions are also underway on the Wisconsin side of the border to extend the trail from the Montreal River into Wisconsin and all the way to the ski trails in Montreal.


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