GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)–The Swamp Rabbit Trail sees half a million users and spans more than 22-miles across The Upstate. Now, the way is being cleared to extend the trail even further.
The land on both sides of Laurens Road where the county wanted to extend the trail used to be private property. The land was recently donated to the county. Now the trail has even more room to grow and the project could begin within the next several months.
Ty Houck is the director of Greenways Natural and Historic Resources. He’s also an avid bike rider who loves the safety and accessibility of the Swamp Rabbit Trail opposed to riding on the roads.
“I could bike on this, but if I fall off that, I’d be hit by that,” saif Houck.
He’s excited for the trail to extend even further in the coming months.
“We got 1.35 miles of donated land. no cost, just commitment to making this happen,” said Houck.
Houck says collaborating with private property owners is integral to this kind of extension.
“We just spend time with that private property owner and say this is what we want to do, here is the benefit at the community level, what do we need to do with you to get comfortable,” said Houck.
This will now allow not only the extension of the trail but the construction of three new pedestrian bridges one of which will be on Laurens Road and another on Haywood Road.
“We anticipate the cost of installing the bridges and the approach ramps at $4-million,” said Houck.
All of which will be funded by the county’s hospitality tax funds. But the work here can’t start just yet.
“Then the contractor may come in and say well I’ve got to rip up all this work you did before because I’m bringing in heavy equipment to a 160 foot long bridge,” said Houck.
Houck says they’ll have a better idea by spring of 2020 when the new part of the trail will be open, attracting even more people to use it.
“We’re going to have even more and more numbers because as we add more mileage more people can connect to it,” said Houck.
The county will now work on finding a contractor to design the bridges based on historical renderings. They hope to start work by spring of next year.
Not only is this extension good for Greenville, but experts say this will help open trail connections to other communities like Fountain Inn, Simpsonville, Mauldin and Greer.