Trail extension work begins in Lynchburg

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - In Lynchburg, work on a new trail extension began Thursday. Officials broke ground on the project that will renovate a 100-year-old bridge, and connect different parts of the city. Leaders hope this will motivate people to enjoy nature more often.

Gary Nero exercises on Blackwater Creek Trail in Lynchburg often.

"I hike here a lot, and I bicycle on the trails a lot," Nero, a member of the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club, explained. The club works with Parks and Recreation to help maintain the area's trails.

His frequent trail use is what makes him so excited about Thursday's groundbreaking.

"Projects can take a little bit of time to get done but they don't get done until they get started," Nero said.

Which is why city council members, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and locals gathered together to watch Lynchburg Parks and Recreation break ground on the new project: the Langhorne Road Bridge Renovation and Blackwater Creek Trail Extension between Ed Page and Linkhorne Middle School.

"It will open up another area of city that can use the trail system for exercise, for jogging, for walking, to get out with nature," David Owen, Project Manager for Lynchburg Parks and Recreation, said,

The new trail will come across the refurbished 100-year-old bridge and will tie in to Linkhorne Middle and Elementary schools.

"It will allow the students there to use it and have a safe route to schools, as well as use it for the PE classes, the physical fitness, science and nature" Owen said.

He believes this renovation will bring out around 50% more trail users, like Nero.

"This just gives a bit more of an opportunity and sometimes, this portion of the trail can get pretty crowded, the longer the trail is the less crowded it is going to be for people but also, we'll get so many more people out to use it," Nero said.

Most of the funding for the nearly 2 million dollar project is coming from VDOT. Work is expected to take about 11 months.

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