County to move ahead with plan to reroute bike trail segment

Interurban trail project in Port to get boost from Land Regatta proceeds
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Ozaukee County officials are moving forward with a plan to improve the Ozaukee interurban Trail by creating a direct connection between Park and Spring streets in Port Washington.

That connection would direct bicyclists from the Ozaukee Transit Center along the old interurban right of way north behind businesses and underneath the Union Pacific railroad tracks to Park Street.

“We’ve just started the process,” Andrew Struck, the county’s director of planning and parks, said. 

Helping to pay for that process will be the fifth annual Land Regatta run and walk in Port Washington, which is sponsored by the Be3 fitness group. This year, the group has decided to donate proceeds from the walk-run and the accompanying beer garden to the Interurban Trail extension.

“Enhancing the Interurban Trail will improve the usability and safety for all users. Our goal is to help Port Washington and Ozaukee County make this project a reality.” Be3 race committee member Chad Anhalt said.

Struck added, “This trail extension will complete the missing link of the trail through the heart of the city.”

The project is aimed at improving safety on the bike trail, Struck said.

“This will remove on-road traffic in the City of Port Washington and provide a more direct route into and out of downtown safely,” he said, something that’s particularly a concern in that area, which borders the city’s industrial district.

In that area, Struck said, an average of 300 users a day travel the trail — significantly more in the summer than winter. 

The county is currently working on designing and engineering the new route, he said, a process that could take considerable time and money.

“We’re hoping to get through the engineering and design in the next year,” he said, adding negotiations with the railroad could take two to three years.

The railroad stands to gain from the project as well, Struck said, noting it will eliminate an at-grade crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists, lowering the potential liability for the railroad.

Just obtaining a permit to work in the railroad right of way can cost $50,000 to $100,000 or more, Struck said.

The county has approached the railroad to begin talks, he said.

“Hopefully everything will go smoothly with the railroad,” he said.

The county doesn’t have a tentative timeline or budget for the project, Struck said. It will apply for grants and do fundraising to obtain the money needed for the project.

The money raised by Be3 will primarily go toward the construction cost of the project, he said.

The fifth annual Land Regatta Run/Walk will be held beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18.

The accompanying beer garden in the park, hosted by Be3, will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The 5k and 2-mile run and walk is held in Upper Lake Park, with a free kids-only race following the main event that includes fun obstacles to engage the young participants. 

Registrations for the 5k and 2-mile races are being accepted at ZuZu Pedals, BMO Harris Bank, Port Washington State Bank and Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA in Saukville. 

Online registration may be done at the website landregatta.com.

Race-day registrations will be taken beginning at 7:30 a.m., with the run starting at 9 a.m. 

The cost is $20 before Saturday, Aug. 11, and $25 after that date. Children 13 and younger participate for free.

Top performing participants will be recognized during an award ceremony following the event. 

The Land Regatta has raised more than $50,000 for community initiatives since its inception. Be3 donates all the proceeds from the run and walk as well as a portion of the proceeds from the beer garden that follows.

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494
 

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