Riders and joggers who use the county's bike path past Stevens Creek Elementary School might notice where the paved route stops in patches.
County officials say that work is expected to fill in the holes soon along the 2.7-mile portion from the school to Blue Ridge Drive.
They also are hoping that a federal transportation grant will extend the multi-use path another 1.8 miles, connecting it to the Columbia County Government Center at North Belair Drive.
"I don't want to stop here," Columbia County Engineer Jim Leiper said. "There's a whole network of bike paths that are proposed to be throughout the county. We're just taking it one step at a time."
First, officials will have to wait and see if the Department of Transportation awards the county the $380,000 it is requesting for the extension to fund the third phase of the bike path.
Work is nearing completion on the bike path along Evans to Locks Road near Jones Creek.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The first phase, a $455,000 connector between the Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Stevens Creek Elementary, was funded mostly by a similar DOT grant. The second phase from the school was started in January and cost $175,000 from county funds.
Leiper said most of the work on the second phase is expected to finish up in the next couple of months.
"Construction's progressing nicely with the good weather that we're having," he said.
Two sections, however, will have to wait about another six months because the state is picking up the tab for the construction costs.
A couple hundred feet of path near the intersections of Furys Ferry and Evans to Locks roads as well as from St. Andrews subdivision to Blue Ridge Drive will be built when the state makes intersection improvements in those areas. Leiper said that schedule would help ensure pedestrian safety measures are incorporated at the intersections.
County Engineer Manager John Burnham said if state funding comes through for the bike path's third phase, the county will have to provide a 20 percent match, or $76,000. Results of the county's grant application are expected to come back early next year.
If funded, the result could be 6.3 miles of smooth jogging and biking routes that Leiper said he hopes residents begin using more.
"As far as I'm concerned, I'd like to see people every couple 100 feet," he said.
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