Construction to add bike path along busy county road

HANCOCK COUNTY — Construction is expected to clog traffic along a major county road in coming weeks, but once work wraps up, drivers and pedestrians alike will have more space on the busy thoroughfare.

A construction project to add a bike path along County Road 600W will begin in coming weeks. Construction crews are currently in the process of clearing utility lines to make way for the new path, which will run parallel to the road. Workers will also add a shoulder to widen both lanes and accommodate traffic.

The bike path will connect to the western portion of the Pennsy Trail, which runs from County Road 600W to German Church Road in Cumberland.

Gary Pool, county highway engineer, said the project will give pedestrians safer access to the corridor, which currently has little space for walking or biking.

Drivers in the area should be prepared for reduced speed limits while the work is ongoing. Speed limits along County Road 600W will be reduced from 50 miles per hour to speeds as low as 25 along a stretch of the road beginning at U.S. 40 and heading 1.25 miles south.

Construction is expected to begin late this month and will likely run until fall, Pool said.

The county received $4 million in federal funding for the project — enough to cover 80 percent of the cost. The remaining $1 million will be paid for through the county highway department’s budget.

Speed limits in the zone will vary based on how close construction crews are working to the road, Pool said, adding that limits will likely be between 25 mph and 35 miles per hour.

Pool predicts traffic through the project will be disrupted by the construction and urges drivers to use caution and to obey speed restrictions.

Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Achor said the department focuses enforcement in construction zones, particularly along roads with a significant amount of traffic.

Conditions along the narrow road will leave little room for error, Achor said.

Once construction is finished, the redesigned road will make way for traffic in the area, said commissioner Brad Armstrong.

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Daniel Morgan is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (317) 477-3228 or dmorgan@greenfieldreporter.com.