Work on final phase of Griffith-Portage bike trail expected to start this fall
BY KAREN CAFFARINI Post-Tribune correspondent October 15, 2013 6:20PM
Updated: November 18, 2013 7:30AM
HOBART — Preliminary work will start this fall on the final phase of the Oak Savannah bike trail.
“We plan to start cleaning up the right of way on the path this fall so we’re ready to go in the spring for actual construction,” City Engineer Phillip Gralik said at Monday’s Park Board meeting.
This phase will stretch from Linda Street, near the American Legion, to Cleveland and Indiana 130, tieing into already completed sections of the bike path on both ends.
The board first voted Monday to increase federal funding for the trail work from around $980,000 to $1.22 million.
Gralik said the higher amount was needed due to design changes, such as a request for thicker pavement made by the Indiana Department of Transportation, as well as the shelter at Pennsy Park requested by the city.
The city has already paid around $320,000 for its share of this phase of the project’s total $1.6 million cost. Under a federal Transportation Enhancement Fund that’s paying for the project, the federal government will pay 80 percent, with the city paying the rest.
The board also voted to award Rieth-Riley Construction Co. in Gary a $1.15 million contract for actual construction of the path.
Gralik said the remaining $450,000 of the $1.6 million amount will pay for design work and land rights.
“That’s why this piece of the path has been missing for so long. We’re crossing over two railroad tracks. That takes time,” Gralik said.
He said the entire federal process was lengthy as well.
The first contract for the trail was signed in 2006.
Gralik said a pre-construction meeting will take place on Oct. 23, after which he should have a better idea of when the work will be completed.
The Oak Savannah Trail stretches from near the Griffith Airport to Portage, largely following railroad track rights-of-way.
The Hobart portion will include a pavilion and doggie water fountain at Pennsy Park.