Metroparks Toledo and the Northwest Ohio Rails-to-Trails Association are working to extend the paved section of the Wabash-Cannonball Trail six miles by next summer.
Metroparks received funding through the Transportation Alternatives Program to pave the north leg of the trail from where the pavement currently leaves off at S. Fulton Lucas Road (County Road 1) to State Route 109 in Fulton County, where NORTA’s headquarters is located.
The Board of Park Commissioners Dec. 18 awarded a contract to Expercon, LLC of Toledo for $2.2 million to pave the trail extension, with 95 percent of the cost being paid for with TAP funds.
NORTA maintains the trail in Fulton, Henry and Williams counties.
The project will enhance a significant piece of the Wabash Cannonball Trail, making it more accessible and inviting to trail users.
The first mile of the trail extension will be dedicated to Tom Duvendack, former manager of Oak Openings Preserve, who died Easter Sunday. Duvendack was one of the leaders who advocated for the Wabash Cannonball, and remained involved with NORTA after his retirement from Metroparks.
The North Fork is a 46-mile trail, which is currently paved for nine miles from North Jerome Road in Maumee west to the Lucas-Fulton County line, just south of Swanton. From there, the trail currently consists of hard-packed cinder ballast as well as areas of dirt and grass for another 10 miles to County Road 11. It then continues west on-road for two miles until the asphalt trail resumes at County Road 13, the eastern limit of the City of Wauseon.
It is paved in Wauseon. The rest of the trail, to Montpelier, is unpaved.
The Wabash Cannonball Trail also has a south leg that stretches for 17 miles from Maumee to Liberty Center, with the first 10 miles paved.