Excited about the trail

Published 8:07 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2015

In today’s fitness-oriented culture, folks are looking for all the opportunities they can find to get outside and get active. Unfortunately, in a city with as much rural area as Suffolk, finding safe places to walk, run or bike can be hard to accomplish.

A new bike trail under construction through a portion of the city will help solve the problem, and it portends even greater things for the future.

Construction workers have begun work on the next leg of the Seaboard Coastline Trail, an 11.5-mile trail that will eventually be a part of the South Hampton Roads Trail, which, when complete, will journey through the cities of Suffolk, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach and could include a spur heading north along the Elizabeth River from Norfolk.

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Eventually, bikers — and even committed joggers and walkers — will be able to take a paved trail from Suffolk to the oceanfront, with minimal time spent on potentially dangerous roads.

Crews are currently working on a 10-foot-wide, paved trail between Driver and Shoulders Hill Road near Bob White Lane — a distance of 2.3 miles. It’s expected to be ready for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles including wheelchairs this summer.

The next section in Suffolk will continue from Shoulders Hill Road to Town Point Road — about a mile — bringing the regional project to the Chesapeake line. Both sections together will cost about $2.3 million. Another stretch headed in the other direction would encompass 8.2 miles at an estimated cost of $11 million.

Federal grants, along with some local matches, are funding most of the work.

In the long run — pardon the pun — this kind of quality-of-life project will generate far more value for the people who use it than it ever cost taxpayers. We can’t wait to see it completed.