Danville is getting more than $500,000 from the state for two trail extensions on the Riverwalk Trail, a nearly 12-mile paved, tree-lined trail along the Dan River used for walking, running and biking.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is providing $521,680 for the city to extend the trail from the planned riverfront park site at the White Mill property at Memorial Drive to Union Street Bridge Road, an addition of between 1,200 and 2,000 feet, depending on the final route, city engineer Brian Dunevant said.
The second extension, from Robertson Bridge to Riverside Drive, will be about 800 feet, Dunevant said.
VDOT’s Transportation Alternative Program is paying for 80% of the projects, and the city will pay the remaining 20%.
The extension near White Mill is expected to cost about $447,100, with the state providing $357,680 and the city paying $89,420.
VDOT is paying $164,000 toward the Riverside project while the city is providing a match of $41,000. That extension will cost a total of $205,000, Dunevant said.
The White Mill extension is not contingent upon whether a planned riverfront park is built there, he said.
“The extension is funded and is planned to be done regardless of the schedule of the park,” Dunevant said.
However, the White Mill section extension was chosen because of the planned park and potential for development at the property, he said.
The other location was picked to provide a connection back to Riverside and a potential sidewalk system.
Danville Parks and Recreation Director Bill Sgrinia said the additions would stretch the trail to a little more than 12 miles.
Extending the trail benefits not only its regular users, but other residents as well, he said.
“As we expand it, we provide more access,” Sgrinia said. “People are getting access to it that didn’t have it in the past.”
The two sections are also in the department’s Riverwalk Trail master plan, he added.
Mayor Alonzo Jones called the upcoming extensions “a great addition to our city.”
“Our trails are a part of moving Danville forward,” Jones said.
Preliminary engineering has already started, Dunevant said.
Construction on the trail near White Mill will begin next year or the year after, Dunevant said. The Riverside project will likely be done next year.
Danville City Council will discuss whether to appropriate the VDOT money for the two projects during its upcoming work session Tuesday night.
Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.