Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Iron Belle extension project nears completion


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Ramsay — Although the segment won’t formally open for another month or so, work extending the non-motorized Iron Belle Trail into Ramsay is nearing completion as the trail’s blacktop has now been poured.

“The week after Labor Day is what we’re shooting for officially (for the opening),” said Paul Anderson, a project manager with Coleman Engineering who is overseeing the project.

He said some shoulder restoration work still needs to be done, as well as the installation of fencing on the Ramsay side of the project and concrete ramps at every road intersection. Anderson said benches and signage also still needs to go in before the segment can fully open.

Once complete, the project will extend the trail east from the Moore Street trailhead in Bessemer to Ramsay.

The route continues on the old railroad grade from Moore Street to Steiger’s Home Center, according to Anderson, before leaving the grade and going through the woods on an old roadbed to Anvil Road. From Anvil Road, the trail returns to the rail grade before leaving it again to bypass the sewage lagoons before ending at Ramsay Road, across from the Keystone Bridge.

There is a gravel path linking the end of the trail at Ramsay Road to the park behind the Bessemer Township Hall.

Bessemer Township Supervisor Jeff Randall said he is looking forward to the trail’s opening and there are a number of restaurants and Airbnbs in town that are looking forward to serving the trail’s new users, along with the existing snowmobile and ATV traffic.

Work on the newest segment is funded through a combination of a $299,900 Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant; the Michigan Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration are providing $745,327 through alternative transportation programs; $173,910 is coming from a DNR Iron Belle Trail grant; the Gogebic Range Health Foundation provided $200,000 and the Michigan Western Gateway Trail Authority is providing $65,075.

The 3-mile extension to Ramsay brings the total length of completed trail between the Montreal River in Ironwood and Ramsay to 9.7 miles.

Ultimately, the trail will run from the Wisconsin border to Wakefield before continuing as the statewide Iron Belle that is designed to go between Ironwood and Belle Isle in Detroit.