A multiuse path adjacent to the Ice Age Trail is nearly complete, with parts of it open on weekends and evenings and full use expected by the middle of November.
The city began building the half-mile-long path as part of its eastside sewer interceptor project, which replaced two miles of 60 year old sewer pipes along the Badger Mill Creek and tore out vegetation up to 100 feet wide in some areas.
The Ice Age Trail remains detoured along South Main Street and East Verona Avenue, as it has been for about a year, and it will continue to be detoured until at least next summer, public works director Theran Jacobson told the Press in an email Monday, Oct. 25.
The multiuse path, which connects County Hwy. M near Whalen Road to the Lincoln Street bridge, will be open for daytime traffic around Nov. 15, he wrote, adding that until then, it is an active construction zone with equipment in operation and other hazards and the path has a 3-inch edge where topsoil will be placed.
Other parts of the overall project remaining are Dane County’s completion of stream improvements east of the Ice Age Trail bridge over the creek (near Arbor Vitae Place) and final restoration along the entire project’s limits.
The Lincoln Street bridge and the path that connects Lincoln Street to Hillcrest Drive, across the creek, has opened and paving is complete, city engineer Carla Fischer reported last week.
The city has been planning the $7.7 million project since 2016 in conjunction with the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and Dane County Parks and has been working with the Ice Age Trail Alliance on the restoration. But it took some neighbors by surprise in late 2020 when crews began clearing a wide path for the work, which includes installing 16,500 feet of sewer lines.
Much of what the city removed was invasives, such as cottonwood and box elder, though parks director Dave Walker told the Press last year the city removed about 10 oak trees up to a century old as part of the project.
“It is a very good opportunity to establish what should have been there prior to settlement 100 years ago,” he told the Press last year.