SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Following delays, the city of Spartanburg said its project to extend the Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail will begin this year.

Over the past few years, those involved in the planning and development of the Rail Trail have run into roadblocks with the extension project.

“It’s been a lot of dealing with the South Carolina Department of Transportation. A lot of the trail goes along their right-of-way,” said Spartanburg communications and marketing manager Christopher George. “So, a lot of it has just been back and forth with them over their regulations and requirements and frankly a lot of this is stuff that’s kind of new to them.”

Delays have piled up along with residents’ hopes which, in return, were let down with no expected start date for expansion.

Mary Black Rail Trail Extension map.jpg
FILE- Map showing location for extension of Mary Black Rail Trail

The city says its plan is still to extend the Rail Trail through downtown from its current end point at the intersection of Union Street and Henry Street.

“This extension will allow it’s users a safe passage across the street; across Henry Street and all the way into downtown and eventually all the way to Barnet Park that will allow that connection for those folks using the rail trail to get to downtown,” said Ned Barrett, trail development manager for Play. Advocate. Live Well. Spartanburg (PAL).

Developers said the new route will include space on Union Street, Kennedy Street and Converse Street, ending at Barnet Park. It will also include a first-of-its-kind in South Carolina curb-protected bike lane.

“Along one section of it, which is along Converse Street to Barnet Park, we’ll be narrowing sort of the roadway there and creating a protected cycle track. And so what that is is we will have a physical barrier between the trail and the oncoming traffic to protect cyclists and folks using the trail,” said George.

According to PAL Spartanburg, since 2020, the trail count usage has tallied nearly 400,000 people.

“It’s a great change, the Rail Trail is the most popular recreational facility in the county,” said Barrett.

“People of all walks of life and all of our city uses it and, you know, if there is one complaint that folks have about is that it’s not long enough,” George said.

Soon the Rail Trail will offer an extended space for usage.

“We will be starting this spring. We don’t have an exact start date yet, but we will be definitely be starting this spring on that extension,” said George.