Coal Line Trail work begins in South Bend, converting rail line into multi-use path

Walkers, joggers, and bikers will soon get to enjoy a new route in South Bend. Construction has begun on the Coal Line Trail. The multipurpose trail is being built over the abandoned Notre Dame and Western coal line.

“In the two phases, the trail will follow Lincolnway West to Wilbur Street along the abandoned right-of way behind Diamond Avenue to Portage Avenue,” the city said in a press release. “The trail continues under Portage Avenue to Riverside Drive and will cross the St. Joseph River on the former railroad bridge to Angela Boulevard.”

According to the city, the trail will pass under the Portage Avenue bridge with the option of accessing Portage via a ramp. The project will also include a new shelter and bike repair station at Vasser and Lawndale avenues, trail lighting, and benches. The first phase of construction is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Phase Two extends over the river

“During construction, lane restrictions will be in place on most streets adjacent to the project. Woodward Avenue from Angela Boulevard to Elwood Avenue will be closed for a short time when construction is in the vicinity,” the city says.

The second phase of the project goes over the St. Joseph River via the historic railroad bridge. The plans call for a remodeled pedestrian bridge to link the East Bank and State Road 933 trails. Once completed, the Coal Line Trail will be a 1.5-mile multipurpose path that will link Lincolnway West and State Road 933.

The $1.6 million bid was awarded to Selge Construction Company. Eighty percent of the costs for the project will come through federal funding, with 20 percent covered locally. Phase two is expected to begin in 2022.

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