A segment of the busy Iron Belle biking trail in the U.P. is getting an extension which will be finished later this summer. A developer says much planning has gone into the extension of the trail from Bessemer to Ramsey costing $1.5 million.
Project Engineer Paul Anderson of Coleman Engineering said part of the trail over time has been built between Ironwood and Bessemer on former rail property and the next portion is being worked on this summer...
"We're fortunate enough to be building three miles of asphalt trail from Bessemer to Ramsey.."
Anderson says the new portion followed old rail bed for a time, then veers off onto what used to be old U.S. 2., then eventually gets back onto former railroad grade then onto new ground in Bessemer township . It eventually ends in Ramsey at the Keystone bridge. He says a renovation of a park in Ramsey is tied to the trailhead.
With work being done on the Wisconsin side in Hurley, Anderson says by mid-September, an extensive ride from Wisconsin to Ramsey is possible...
"They can bike from Hurley now through Ironwood through Bessemer to Ramsey. it's about 10 miles of asphalt trail that people will be able to enjoy..."
The Gogebic Health Foundation supplied $200,000 for the project. Developers also received money from Michigan DNR, DOT and Michigan Western Gateway Authority.
Long term plans include the trail running from the Wisconsin border to Wakefield before continuing as the statewide Iron Belle trail envisioned between Ironwood and Detroit.
Wisconsin enthusiasts are working to expand the trail system on their side of the Montreal River