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Great News about "my" Rail Trail

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Great News about "my" Rail Trail

Old 09-30-08, 05:27 PM
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Great News about "my" Rail Trail

The Badger State Trail, which runs very close to my house, just received funding approval to complete and pave the last segment, which will connect the trail to Madison's southwest side. $871K of federal funds ... thanks go out to everyone!

This will enable me to ride all the way to Madison on paved trails, when it is completed next summer. I could even commute on some days, 12-13 miles each way, all on asphalt bike paths, to within 1 block of my office.

It also connects two significant trail systems. At present the Badger, Sugar River, and Jane Addams trails are connected, with a combined length of about 75 or so miles. And the Military Ridge, Capitol City Trail, and Madison SW Bike Path are connected, which run somewhere around another 70 miles.

This 6.1 mile segment will connect all of them together, creating a system approximately 150 miles long. The longest in Wisconsin.

This will open up a lot of options for me, including the option of taking a 40+ mile ride on asphalt.
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Old 09-30-08, 07:24 PM
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I wish they'd build some more trails over on this side of the state, especially if I could use them to commute to work!
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Old 09-30-08, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
This 6.1 mile segment will connect all of them together, creating a system approximately 150 miles long. The longest in Wisconsin.

This will open up a lot of options for me, including the option of taking a 40+ mile ride on asphalt.
Congratulations! That should be fun.

Now you'll have to post pictures of you on the ride
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Old 09-30-08, 07:50 PM
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Do you know the status of the trails (I don't know the names) that were damaged so badly by the early summer storms? The last I heard was that the extensive repairs hadn't been budgeted.
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Old 09-30-08, 07:58 PM
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I haven't checked upon all of them, but I've heard nearly all are operational. The only exception I'm aware of is the "400" trail, from Reedsburg to Elroy, where the middle portion of it is closed. Most of the bridges were wiped out, along with substantial damage to the trail. I've heard that they are hoping to re-open this winter for snowmobiling.

Of all of the trails I've ridden, the "400" is still my favorite.

Just checked on some of the others, two bridges on the Elroy-Sparta Trail were just taken out for repairs. East of Kendall. Will be out for 2 weeks.

You can check any state trail here:
http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/regions/
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Old 09-30-08, 07:58 PM
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More of those wasteful earmarks.

I hope the project makes it through the completely confusing and frustrating funding and appropriations process and actually gets done as promised. It can be a nerve racking process to observe.
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Old 09-30-08, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
I haven't checked upon all of them, but I've heard nearly all are operational. The only exception I'm aware of is the "400" trail, from Reedsburg to Elroy. Most of the bridges were wiped out, along with substantial damage to the trail. I've heard that they are hoping to re-open next year.

Of all of the trails I've ridden, the "400" is still my favorite.
Yeah, I think that's the one. It was supposed to be a part of the tour that my wife and I had planned for last June but it was washed out. The tour director told me in August that 2009 was going to be "iffy". That's OK with me because my son is getting married next June so we wouldn't be able to go anyway.
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Old 09-30-08, 11:25 PM
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we have a proposed rail trail near us that is projected for the future, but it would be awesome. I think the current problem is that the railbed goes through the state prison ground. various people are fighting over the land
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Old 10-01-08, 12:00 AM
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There are efforts underway to complete the link on Madison's east side between the Capital City Trail and the Glacial Drumlin Trail, which runs almost to Milwaukee. This could happen within 2-4 years. When that happens, this trail system will be over 200 miles, without a single mile of it being a road that has been designed as part of the trail. The only time one would be on a road would be crossing it at an intersection.

At that time if I started from my house and road to the end of every trail and then back home, I would have to ride approximately 400 miles.

Trail distances after the Madison connector is finished will be:

Badger Trail: 46 miles
Sugar River: 23 miles
Military Ridge: 40 miles
Capital City: 17 miles
Jane Addams: 13 miles
Madison SW bike path: 5 miles

So that's 144 miles.

Glacial Drumlin is 52 miles and then there is the connector to it. That will put the total distance almost right at 200 miles.
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Old 10-01-08, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
I haven't checked upon all of them, but I've heard nearly all are operational. The only exception I'm aware of is the "400" trail, from Reedsburg to Elroy, where the middle portion of it is closed. Most of the bridges were wiped out, along with substantial damage to the trail. I've heard that they are hoping to re-open this winter for snowmobiling.

Just checked on some of the others, two bridges on the Elroy-Sparta Trail were just taken out for repairs. East of Kendall. Will be out for 2 weeks.

You can check any state trail here:
http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/regions/
Those two bridges east of Kendall needed to be fixed for a long time.

I rode past mp 10 on the 400 trail towards Lavalle a couple of weeks ago. East of Wonnewoc the trail still says closed. But it is rideable until just past mp 10. That bridge is a mess. It is literally wavy. I mean big waves too. I walked on it about 1/3 of the way over but chickened out at that point. The trail up to that point is mostly okay, but is pretty rough in some spots. Some parts of the trail had not been resurfaced and need it badly. Hopefully, the funding the state is getting will take care of all the bridges, cause only one was funded and the others were on a list of things that were in need of funding.
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Old 10-02-08, 07:03 AM
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$871,000. 6.1 miles.

Are they going to have to buy some right-of-way or build a bridge or re-do the signaling at several major intersections?

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Old 10-02-08, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
$871,000. 6.1 miles.

Are they going to have to buy some right-of-way or build a bridge or re-do the signaling at several major intersections?
For the most part there is little else that needs to be done. The rails were ripped out several years ago. It was initially scheduled to be completed in 2005. It's just been sitting there, growing grass. Early in the Spring it is rideable, but bumpy in places. They may need to build a wooden bridge or two.

It doesn't cross any major roads, so they'll likely just put in stop signs on the bike trail.

As to the cost, note that this will cost $145K per mile. In Alaska they just completed the "Road to Nowhere", a gravel road that was built to the spot where they were going to build the infamous bridge. They spend $25M in federal funds for a 3.2 mile gravel road, so their cost was almost $8M/mile.
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Old 10-03-08, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
There are efforts underway to complete the link on Madison's east side between the Capital City Trail and the Glacial Drumlin Trail, which runs almost to Milwaukee.

Glacial Drumlin is 52 miles and then there is the connector to it. That will put the total distance almost right at 200 miles.
That looks like a really nice setup. I used to live in Lake Mills, riding to Milwaukee was a big adventure.
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Old 10-03-08, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
As to the cost, note that this will cost $145K per mile. In Alaska they just completed the "Road to Nowhere", a gravel road that was built to the spot where they were going to build the infamous bridge. They spend $25M in federal funds for a 3.2 mile gravel road, so their cost was almost $8M/mile.
Well, you're kind of going after low hanging fruit, there.

I can't imagine a county commissioner winning re-election in my state after issuing a $145,000/mile contract to pave an existing gravel road.

Best,
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Old 10-03-08, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post

I can't imagine a county commissioner winning re-election in my state after issuing a $145,000/mile contract to pave an existing gravel road.
It isn't existing gravel. It is existing rutty dirt, unsurfaced. Just a train track that was ripped up and somewhat smoothed out several years ago. Nasty holes in many places, just narrow ruts to ride in. Once the grass grows high, you can't ride anything with a derailleur, as grass gets into them and jams them up.

They need to level the surface, put in a bed, and then pave it. And probably build a bridge or two. When I said there was little prep, I meant that they didn't have to rip out existing railroad rails or all of the railroad ties or build traffic lights at intersections.

$145K/mile isn't high for this. The cost to repave an existing road, where there is essentially no prep and you are laying asphalt down on asphalt, is over $70K/mile.

Take North Carolina for example. That's a medium-sized state, with relatively decent weather. Their annual budget to repave roads (not to build any new roads) is $278M/yr.

Another bike trail that received funding is within the city of Madison, where there they have to build intersections & more stuff. It is $1.3M for 2.5 miles, which is $520K/mile. Ours is dirt cheap compared to that one.
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Old 10-03-08, 04:48 PM
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Maryland plans to build more rail trails:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertai...0,736030.story

Note that the cost for one of them is $4.2M for 4 miles, or $1.05M/mile. That's over 7X what the one by me will cost.

Here's a .pdf that does a good job of providing details on what needs to be included in a bike trail project.
http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/1324/f...st_fri2007.pdf
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Old 10-03-08, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Well, you're kind of going after low hanging fruit, there.

I can't imagine a county commissioner winning re-election in my state after issuing a $145,000/mile contract to pave an existing gravel road.

Best,
tcs
Around here, it would be just the opposite.

Our folks love their trails and their open space. It is a HIGH priority item. Folks fighting against it here will lose their seats.

All of our lottery proceeds go to trails and open space and the like. A few years back, the legislature tried to change that, to be met with a state-wide citizen uprising and a constitutional amendment that the funds MUST be used for OS and trails.

And, they are highly used.

Give us a clue where "parts unknown" is.
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Old 10-03-08, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
Another bike trail that received funding is within the city of Madison, where there they have to build intersections & more stuff. It is $1.3M for 2.5 miles, which is $520K/mile. Ours is dirt cheap compared to that one.
Which one is that?
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Old 10-03-08, 07:47 PM
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It's one within Madison, that connects the city bike paths to the Madison Area Technical College (MATC).

Hey, megaman, you weren't out riding the Sugar River Trail in New Glarus at around 4PM Friday were you? I've never seen a trike on one of the local trails, but at that time, a person was riding a HP Velo Scorpion folding trike ... which usually cost close to $4000.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
Hey, megaman, you weren't out riding the Sugar River Trail in New Glarus at around 4PM Friday were you? I've never seen a trike on one of the local trails, but at that time, a person was riding a HP Velo Scorpion folding trike ... which usually cost close to $4000.
No, not me. I'd have to think pretty long and hard to spend that much on a trike. See, you do see some trikes on our limestone railstotrails. I'm going riding somewhere Saturday(tomorrow), but don't know where yet. Probably make up my just before I leave. Looks like Sunday will be a wash out, so I'm going to make a big day out of it.
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Old 10-05-08, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
Around here, it would be just the opposite.

Our folks love their trails and their open space. It is a HIGH priority item. Folks fighting against it here will lose their seats.
Hmm? Nobody has said anything about fighting against trails.

Let's hope that getting as little as possible for public money isn't a HIGH priority item with your folks.

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Old 10-05-08, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
They need to level the surface, put in a bed, and then pave it.
Typical rail lines have road beds designed to be stable under the weight of 100 ton locomotives. Interesting you say that this one will have to be redone to support bicycle riders, but that would help explain the cost.

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Old 10-05-08, 08:59 PM
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I watched what they did on the section by my house. They didn't dig out the existing railroad bed, but they did lightly bulldoze it to level the surface, then they laid in a thin bed of a fine, dark rock, then they laid 2"-3" of a dirt/sand/limestone mixture, and then rolled it.

Then after a flood damaged large sections of it about 6 weeks later, they had to lay another layer of dirt/sand/rock and roll it again.

In the end, they had to run heavy equipment the entire length of the trail 6 times.

I'm assuming that since they laid in a bed for the limestone "paved" section, they would be the doing the same for the asphalt section, as I don't think you lay asphalt over dirt. And the existing "trail" certainly needs grading.

They'll probably also have to do some work on the drainage ditches. The existing trail had severe drainage problems in multiple locations and they had to trench in ditches on both sides in places. And that only partially works.
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Old 10-05-08, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Typical rail lines have road beds designed to be stable under the weight of 100 ton locomotives. Interesting you say that this one will have to be redone to support bicycle riders, but that would help explain the cost.

tcs
I noticed that you ignore DnvrFox request where your "Parts unknown" is.
Reading your replies, he is not the only one who wonders about that. Please.
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Old 10-05-08, 09:12 PM
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Did some digging. I found out that the limestone gravel section of the trail cost a bit over $50K/mile, including the construction of several wood bridges. The cost of paving the last section used to be about 25% lower before the recent price increases.

This doesn't include the subsequent repair of the flood damaged portions.

Nor does it include any of the cost to remove the old rails & ties, which was done years ago.
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