Bike trail between Janesville and Beloit now half completed

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Marcia Nelesen
Thursday, October 31, 2013

JANESVILLE--The planned bike trail between Janesville and Beloit will be about half done after city of Janesville and Rock County crews finish laying gravel to the northern edge of Afton this week.

The city and county received tons of gravel in donations to create the trail. The gravel is laid with a grader and creates a hard surface similar to the surface on state bike trails. No paving is planned.

The entire trail will eventually be 11 miles long. It can be used by non-motorized vehicles with the exception of horses.

Janesville is responsible for the 5.6 miles of trail from Afton Road to Eau Claire Road, and the county is responsible the trail from Eau Claire Road to the north edge of Big Hill Park in Beloit. There, the trail becomes Beloit's responsibility.

Recently, a half-mile of what Janesville calls Peace Trail was improved with a donation of 300 tons of gravel from Bjoin Limestone of Janesville.

About 1,000 tons of gravel is being placed this week for an additional 1.33 miles, with 300 additional tons donated by Bjoin, 300 tons by Michael's Cycles of Janesville and 336 tons from the Rock Trail Coalition. That's about 63 truckloads in total.

Before 2011, Peace Trail had stretched south only to Tripp Road. In 2011, the city bought a half-mile segment from landowner Mike Morris, funded in part with two $10,000 donations from the Rock Trail Coalition and Janesville residents Bill and Sandy Graham.

Morris donated his time and equipment to open the next segment for public use.

“That, to me, was the opportunity—the last piece of property—that needed to be acquired for this trail,” said Tom Presny, parks director for the city of Janesville.

The trail would not be possible without the donations from Michael's Cycles and Bjoin Limestone because city funding is not otherwise available, Presny said.

The trail was originally a part of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad line that was built in 1880 and provided rail service until 1973, when the line was abandoned.

For more information on trail improvement, call Rock County Parks Director Lori Williams at (608) 757-5451 or (608) 295-2623.

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