By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The city is in the process of expanding the Rouge River Gateway trail to connect the area near Andiamo, 21400 Michigan Ave., and Ford Field Park, 22051 Cherry Hill.
Currently, trail users have to ride along Michigan Avenue to get from the restaurant to the park, but the quarter-mile expansion will eliminate that.
A new elevated platform will be put in place behind the restaurant allowing runners and bike riders to continue along the wooded tree line.
“Pedestrians can travel through the Dearborn Historical Museum property before exiting and connecting to the existing sidewalks and bike lanes on Brady Street and ultimately to Cherry Hill Road and Ford Field Park,” Dearborn Director Public Information Mary Laundrouche said.”
The expansion is made possible because of two grants given to the city from Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Construction will close the parking lot available for Gateway trail users for two weeks beginning Aug. 1. The public can park in public lots, including the transit center, Dearborn Historical Museum, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Henry Ford College during construction.
Since the 2.16-mile paved trail was created in 2005, thousands of walkers and bicyclists have used the route. It connects with the bike path in Edward Hines Park north of Ford Road, and stretches 19 miles to Northville.
The trail travels through natural areas on the banks of the Rouge River and includes two pedestrian bridges. It also runs through the UM-D and HFC campuses, Henry Ford Estate and Environmental Interpretive Center.
Along the existing route, visitors pass natural areas including the Rouge River Bird Observatory and a 300-acre mixed-habitat Environmental Study Area featuring one of the few remaining beech-maple climax forests in southeast Michigan.
More than 250 species of birds have been spotted in the observatory, the longest-running full-time urban bird research station in North America.
The trail system, open daily from dawn to dusk, includes land owned by the city and Wayne County.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)