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  1. #1
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Chief Ladiga Trail completion progress report.

    Monday 11/27/2006 concrete pour was done on the fourth and final bridge under reconstruction. I checked myself and took this photo today 11/28/2006.


    Paving may now start on the final 9 miles, which will connect to the Silver Comet trail. This contract is to be completed by February 2007. Extensive preparation is underway and I expect the paving to be done long before February 2007. One company obtained both contracts for the entire 9-miles and they seam to be in a hurry to get their money.

    In the meantime you can bypass this rough unpaved section using highways 49, 70, and 94 to get to the Silver Comet trail. From Piedmont, AL ride the Chief Ladiga trail until you get to the (closed) snack shack and turn left off the trail and right onto highway 70. Look for the green arrows. Take the next paved road to the right. This road is not marked but a green arrow with parentheses will show you the way. This is highway 94. You will find a sign telling you the bridge ahead is out and the road is for local traffic only. Ignore this sign as you and your bike can cross the bridge but vehicular traffic cant. Highway 94 will take you to highway 70 and then you take 49 to the Georgia line. From their take the next paved/unmarked road to the left, which will cross the Silver Comet trail. You can take highway 70 over the mountain but it a pretty long, hard, and steep climb!
    Here is a photo of the bridge on highway 94 just so you know what you're getting into if you take that route.

    Highway 94 is a very scenic route and well worth getting off your bike and carefully pushing it across the damaged bridge and it sure is a lot easier than taking that hellish climb on highway 70!

  2. #2
    Senior Member KinjaBoy's Avatar
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    What is the total milage going to be when the two trials are joined?

  3. #3
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    When both trails are completed the Chief Ladiga trail will be 32 miles and the Silver Comet trail will be 60 miles for a total of 92 continuous miles. You can take local low traffic roads and fill in the gaps. Anniston, AL is working on an additional 12 miles and some are talking about trail construction to Birmingham, AL for approximately another 60 miles.

  4. #4
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    I checked the Cleburne county section of the trail today 12-16-2006.
    Guardrails are up on the final bridge allowing save passage but there is still welding being done. You must pick your bike up and step up or down according to your direction of travel on the west end of the bridge until a ramp is built up. All 9 miles of the Cleburne County section is easily navigable due to preparatory work for paving. Paving is to start sometime next week (12-18 to 12-22-06) according to weather conditions. Paving will start at the Silver Comet trailhead for about 5 miles ending at the 220 ft bridge just west of Borden Springs, AL. Paving of the final 4 miles will begin in January 2007 depending on weather conditions. The paving contractor must have all work completed by 2-28-2007 or pay penalties.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    We were out on the Silver Comet today, and it's been extended quite a bit. We didn't go all the way to the end, but it was paved will past 44 miles. Not sure how short it is of joining up in Cedartown, but it was fun to be able to keep going past Rockmart for a while.

  6. #6
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Here is a picture of the bridge as of 12-17-06.

    Final welding and painting will be completed this week. The paving contractor said that paving will start today (12-18-06) and if the weather holds out as predicted the paving of the first 5 miles up to this bridge will be completed this week. The next 4 miles will be slower due to three other bridges along the trail requiring the heavy equipment to be moved from the trail to a busy highway to the next section of the trail between bridges.
    Our group did the trip on mountain bikes from the Piedmont, AL Welcome center to the Esom Hill Silver comet trail head where another group of cyclists said that the finial section of the silver comet trail was completed and that construction of that trail was complete. If the weather stays nice both trails may be complete before the end of Jan 2007.

  7. #7
    Eternal Cat3 Rookie branman1986's Avatar
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    oh man, I'm excited...thanks for keeping us updated!

    I can't wait for a "tour" of the full 100!

  8. #8
    Easily distracted...
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    That's great to see. The trail was one of my favorite tours but that bridge was scary to cross.
    Safe, efficient, and comfortable transportation.

  9. #9
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Cleburne County Engineer Shannon Robbins warns Chief Ladiga Trail users to stay off the Cleburne stretch of the trail for a little while.

    Check this link for today's The Anniston Star newspaper article about the Chief Ladiga Trail and continuing work.

    http://www.annistonstar.com/opinion/...-6l20t1334.htm

  10. #10
    Now with racer-boy font! Moonshot's Avatar
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    Thanks, please keep us updated.

  11. #11
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    A while back I stopped in Anniston when driving to Bham, and found the trail start north of the city. It was completely deserted so I resolved to do this ride with a group of people instead of just myself or one other. I stopped at that big, old hotel there, I think it was The Victorian (?) and found out how to make reservations for the intended long weekend ride there and back.... If the completion is slated for early 2007 do you think planning a there-and-back from Atlanta in April would be too optimistic? We were thinkikng about hauling a trailer there and back with us.....

  12. #12
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nowandthen
    A while back I stopped in Anniston when driving to Bham, and found the trail start north of the city. It was completely deserted so I resolved to do this ride with a group of people instead of just myself or one other. I stopped at that big, old hotel there, I think it was The Victorian (?) and found out how to make reservations for the intended long weekend ride there and back.... If the completion is slated for early 2007 do you think planning a there-and-back from Atlanta in April would be too optimistic? We were thinkikng about hauling a trailer there and back with us.....
    I am very sure the trail will be complete by then. The contract for paving the trail includes fines to be imposed on the contractor if the trail paving is not completed by the end of Feb 2007. The Victorian is a very nice place to stay but most people from out of town use the long Leaf Lodge located in Ft. McClellan. It's close enough to the Anniston trailhead that you may simply bike to the trail. Presently plans are in the works to extend the trail via the old railroad tracks to Ft. McClellan ending at the long Leaf Lodge.
    http://www.longleaflodge.com/
    Ft. McClellan is a popular cycling area for local bicyclists. Speed limits on the old fort are 35 MPH or lower and the traffic count is extremely low, as the fort has not been extensively redeveloped. You can cycle the old roads for hours and rarely encounter motor vehicles.

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    In the 90's I had a car I simply adored, a KMart-Bathroom-Blue MG I called 'Nigel' - Nigel broke down enroute to Birmingham and quite near Anniston. Amazingly, some friends knew a shop that would work on him in Anniston, and there Nigel resided for the next couple of weeks. Once he was cured,( or actually, 'in remission' might be a better term because as it turned out there was no cure for Nigel,) I took an Amtrak Train back to Anniston from Atlanta to pick him up at the mechanics'. I wonder, is this the same route I rode in the train about 12 years ago? Anybody know? I don't think that particular passenger train line still exists today....

  14. #14
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nowandthen
    In the 90's I had a car I simply adored, a KMart-Bathroom-Blue MG I called 'Nigel' - Nigel broke down enroute to Birmingham and quite near Anniston. Amazingly, some friends knew a shop that would work on him in Anniston, and there Nigel resided for the next couple of weeks. Once he was cured,( or actually, 'in remission' might be a better term because as it turned out there was no cure for Nigel,) I took an Amtrak Train back to Anniston from Atlanta to pick him up at the mechanics'. I wonder, is this the same route I rode in the train about 12 years ago? Anybody know? I don't think that particular passenger train line still exists today....
    Not the same one. The old passenger train that used the track was called the silver comet and hence, the name of the Georgia section of this rail trail. When I was working in a Ship Yard in Morgan City, LA I used to take that same train from New Orleans, LA. To Anniston, AL. to visit my parents and friends. That train went on to New York, NY. And is still in operation by Amtrak. Anniston, AL is trying to get the trail extended to the new train and bus station so trail users may commute via train or bus and get right on the Chief Ladiga trail at the station.

  15. #15
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    This Saturday (1-6-2007) I will be checking progress
    of contractors paving the Cleburne county section of
    the Chief Ladiga Trail. I will leave the Eubanks
    Welcome Center in Piedmont, AL. promptly at 10:00 AM
    CST on a Mountain bike. Everyone is welcome to join me
    on this ride. The ride will include 5 miles on
    pavement from the welcome center to the Cleburne
    county line and possibly 9 miles off road to the
    Silver Comet Trail if any of the Cleburne county
    section of the trail has not been paved. It is unknown
    if any paving has been done and this is the reason for
    this ride. It is possible that up to 5 miles has been
    paved from the Silver Comet Trail to the bridge just
    west of Borden Springs, AL. Any unpaved sections are
    hard packed gravel so off road tires are required.
    Bring a few dollars or pack a lunch, as we will be
    stopping at a small store close to the Silver Comet
    Trail (Yes, they sell lottery tickets). After lunch at
    the small store we will start the return trip. Weather
    reports look good with temps in the mid 60's and only
    a slight chance of rain. Be sure and bring a spare
    tube just in case you have a flat. A jacket may also
    be required if the weather is uncooperative and cold.
    If it's raining at 10:00 AM the trip will be canceled.

  16. #16
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Jan 6 2007 progress report with photos.

    No paving yet but there working on it. Below is a photo from a road approaching the trail.

    Grading work has started along with placement of drainage pipes where drainage is a problem. The trail where they're working on it is no longer hard packed ballast. If it has rained you find it's a hard going muddy mess. I gave up and used highway 49.

    The construction company doesn't want anyone on the trail as can been seen from this barrier across the trail below.

    From now on I will be using paved roads running beside the trail and will be staying off the areas under construction.

  17. #17
    Senior Member KinjaBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou
    Jan 6 2007 progress report with photos.
    Thanks for the follow up! I am looking forward to riding on that fresh pavement.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the pics. My son and I went out that way in late November, early December. We checked out the bridge. It didn't have railings yet, and wasn't paved - but did have new ties and corrugated steel. We wandered down and checked out the creek. On the way back, my son lost his sneakers in the mud, so we put them beside the trail (our tribute to the Mud Gods). It's great to see the pictures and hear about progress on the trail.

    Can't wait for it to get finished!!!! We're no where near ready for a long ride (just getting back into it again on our Tandem) - but I'm really looking forward to doing the Esom Hill to Piedmont section on pavement!!! We're trying to build up our distance - and are in woefully low mileage numbers - but will hit sections on the SCT and CLT while we build back up again.

  19. #19
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    Has anyone checked on the progress lately? I'm really anxious to hear some news!


  20. #20
    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vpiuva
    The B'ham Bike Club president is keeping on top of this and is planning some sort of opening ride, announced to all the local clubs. Is supposed to be this month. Check http://www.bhambikeclub.org/ for details.
    Make sure you update us here. The Georgia folks would love to meet you at the border!

  21. #21
    Eternal Cat3 Rookie branman1986's Avatar
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    that's freakin horrible

  22. #22
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    That sucks. I was hoping to take a weekend off in April and try to ride as much of the Silver Comet & Cheif Talida as I could. Perhaps a 3 day event. Guess it'll have to wait till summer.

  23. #23
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    First 4.2 miles of 9 miles paved in Cleburne County. That 4.2 miles starts at the Silver Comet trailhead at the Alabama Georgia line and heads west ending at the 220-foot bridge in Borden Springs.
    A park has been built at the Alabama state line with an arch over the trails. The contractor now must pave the final 4.8 miles broken by 4 bridges making paving extremely difficult. The contractor is estimating completion in late July or early August.

    Be extremely cautious of the wood planked bridges! Screws and nails are working out of the wood planks and will rip your tires to shreds. Some planks are rotten or missing. I have started getting off the bike and walking it across all the wood planked bridges. I reported this 2 months ago so I don’t think anyone really cares. According to Mr. Conroy there are no funds for trail maintenance. Be extremely cautious of root damaged asphalt as well.

  24. #24
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vpiuva
    That's just peachy. No maintenance budget and trail damage before it's even complete.
    Mr. Conroy was the one who suggested the cheap asphalt surface. He pushed asphalt saying it could be repaired/repaving every 10 years. It's been 11 years so these older sections now require maintenance. All money collected for the Chief Ladiga trail is being spent on the Cleburne county section and the Cleburne county government has refused to help fund there 9 miles. It's a miracle that 9 miles is in the process of being paved! The Silver Comet trail is paved with concrete so maintenance is much less expensive over the years.

    Note: The Calhoun County Trail Watch volunteers contacted me and have informed me they are currently selecting roads bypassing the rotten wood planked bridges. Trail Watch volunteers will stop patrolling those sections of the Calhoun County trail as soon as there finished printing maps and installing signs redirecting cyclists to side roads to bypass hazardous bridges and broken asphalt.

  25. #25
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Trail Watch volunteers will be using Century road to bypass two hazardous wood planked bridges on the trail just East of Germania Springs. There are three hazardous wood planked bridges just west of Piedmont, which will be bypassed using Mack Alexander Rd., Highway 21, and highway 9. Politicians will not allow posting of detour and warning signs on the trail. If you must use these bridges dismount and walk your bike across them and watch out for missing, loose, and rotten boards. Do the same with damaged asphalt, as it will rip your tires to shreds. Trail Watch volunteers will not be patrolling these sections of the trail.


    Last edited by n4zou; 06-28-07 at 10:12 AM.

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