U.S. 20 bikeway 'is almost complete'

Cary Ashby • Updated Nov 2, 2017 at 12:59 PM

WAKEMAN — The U.S. 20 bikeway project near Wakeman is getting its finishing touches.

“The project is almost complete,” Wakeman Mayor Chris Hipp said Wednesday. “We couldn’t be any more excited.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation project goes from Wakeman eastward to the Lorain County line. 

“This new, federally-funded, 10-foot wide paved trail will connect Wakeman to Kipton,” according to the Firelands Rails to Trails Inc. website.

The bikeway extends specifically from the east side of Ohio 60 at Redcap Park to Green Road along U.S. 20, but “there are many additional pieces involved in making the connections for a complete trail system,” according to Rails to Trails.

For a look at the bikeway map, visit the all-new www.frtti.org. For details about the pathway, see the pull-out box.

Hipp and Wakeman Fiscal Officer Trish Summers sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), whose office accepted the project. Hipp said thanks to Manning, the village received $45,000 for the railings across the bike path on the Bruce L. Chapin Bridge.

“That gives safe crossing from the bikes going on U.S. 20,” the mayor added.

Mark Haynes Construction was awarded the contract for the bikeway, which is expected to be completed this month.

Hipp designed the path that goes past Redcap Park. The park, located near Ohio 60, is named after the Wakeman Red Caps baseball team.

“Back in the day, it was a pro or semi-pro baseball team,” Hipp said.

Regarding Redcap Park, the mayor said it’s a nice place to visit, whether you’re on a bicycle or just walking and he hopes the new bikeway will bring attention and recognition to the park and Wakeman.

“We have a beautiful spot back there,” Hipp added. 

The mayor and Rails to Trails officials consider the new bikeway a “win-win situation” for everyone.

“This worked out (great) for the village,” Hipp said.

Firelands Rails to Trails calls the project “a unique partnership involving ODOT, Lorain County Metroparks, the village of Wakeman and Firelands Rails to Trails.” Also, the group website said the Lorain County Metroparks board sought the connection of the North Coast Inland Trail section from Kipton to Wakeman “for many years.” Firelands Rails to Trails develops the Huron County portion of the trail.

The U.S. 20 ditch work along the north side and bikeway has been in the works for about five years or more.

The bikeway isn’t connected currently at Ohio 60 and the Bruce L. Chapin Bridge. Hipp said eventually the path will cross Ohio 60 diagonally to the bridge and once it crosses the bridge, “it will become a road route” until the path goes to “the old railroad bed” on DeRussey Road near Collins.

Charles Sheeful, of Wakeman, donated property near the Vermilion River Regional Veterinary Center for the bike path.

“It’s a 30 foot right-of-way he donated,” Hipp said.

Lorain County Metroparks is the project sponsor and the engineer is Bramhall Engineering & Surveying Co.

* * *

Here is a detailed look at the U.S. 20 bikeway in and outside of Wakeman and its connections:

• From the Bruce L. Chapin Bridge over the Vermilion River, the trail will extend from the east end of the bridge to the Ohio 60 right-of-way. It will run north along the west side of Ohio 60, crossing the road at the crest of the hill. Village council is assisting with the Ohio 60 crossing and trail within the road right-of-way.

• The ODOT bikeway project begins at East Ohio 60, where the paved path begins and runs through Redcap Park along the south side of the pond. At the east end of the park, the trail extends south on an easement granted by Wakeman resident Charles Sheeful.

• The bikeway then heads east along the north side of U.S. 20 within the highway right-of-way, but is separated from the road by a drainage ditch about six to 14 feet north of the road’s edge.

• The bikeway proceeds east past Butler Road and terminates at Green Road. A marked bike route on Green Road will direct bikers the short distance north to the existing stone trail which heads east to Kipton and Oberlin. This stone section soon will be paved by Lorain County Metroparks.

Source: Firelands Rails to Trails, Inc. — https://www.firelandsrailstotrails.org

* * *

The new U.S. 20 bikeway, according to Firelands Rails to Trails Inc., means great things for all the parties involved:

• Wakeman residents east of the village will have a safe and scenic dedicated bike and pedestrian path which will enable them to walk or bike to the central part of the village.

• Businesses east of and in Wakeman will be able to receive patrons via bike or foot.

• Westbound North Coast Inland Trail (NCIT) users now will have a destination, namely Wakeman and beyond, for westbound bikers on the trail. It had terminated at Kipton for 20 years.

• Eastbound NCIT users will have an east end connection: From Derussey Road, trail users will follow road signs and soon new ODOT U.S. Bike Route 30 signs, to Railroad Street in Wakeman, which will have bike-lane markings; over the Bruce L. Chapin Bridge and on eastward on the bikeway.

Source: Firelands Rails to Trails, Inc. — https://www.firelandsrailstotrails.org

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