Berlin Bike Path Concept ‘Is On Paper’

Berlin Bike Path Concept ‘Is On Paper’
As proposed, a 10-foot bike path would run from Route 50 to Evans Road along the existing railroad track. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – Design work is underway for the bike path expected to run along Berlin’s railroad tracks.

Officials said this week that design work for the bike path, which would run along the railroad tracks in town, is close to 60 percent complete.

“The design is critical because if we get that right everything falls into place from there,” Mayor Gee Williams said.

The town received a grant through the Maryland Bikeways Program in December of 2016 that provided funding for the design of a mixed-use path that would run alongside the railroad tracks from Route 50 to Evans Road. Berlin Planning Director Engelhart said the project was underway and that he’d met with architects and engineers two weeks ago to review the concept plan.

“The concept is on paper,” he said. “The surveyors did their surveys and topography work. They are now working on the stormwater component.”

Engelhart said he’d walked the length of the trail with representatives from Davis Bowen & Friedel, the company handling the design, and talked about the project.

“It should be a much easier buildout than we thought,” he said. “Less earth has to be moved than we thought.”

The path, which was made possible through an agreement with the Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company, is meant to fit within the railroad’s easement, which is 33 feet from the center of the tracks. Generally, bike and pedestrian paths are about 10 feet wide.

While the design is not yet complete, the preliminary plan is to construct the path in three pieces — first in the center of town, then the south portion of the tracks and finally the north portion. Construction, however, will depend on further funding from the state.

Engelhart said he hoped the design would be done by May so that he could apply in the next grant cycle for construction funds. He’s optimistic that the project will receive support from the state, as unlike many trails, it was not proposed place of old railroad tracks but instead would be alongside railroad tracks.

“It would be the first one of its kind in the state,” he said.

Williams agreed.

“This is something the state is promoting so we’re hopeful,” he said.

He added that if Berlin was able to complete the path it would show other communities what was possible.

“This is another little way Berlin is trying to lead by example,” he said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.