Not yet open to the public, one-third of the new Cross-City Trail segment being constructed in western Duluth will close for more than a year starting next spring, the city announced Friday.
The closure of the 0.8-mile middle section, from the 40th Avenue West bridge to Recycle Way, is "necessary to permit safe completion of contaminant assessment and remediation activities that need to be undertaken in close proximity to the new trail," a news release said.
The city is currently putting final touches on a new 2.4-mile segment of the multi-use, paved trail system from the Irving Park neighborhood to the vicinity of the Duluth Heritage Sports Center in Lincoln Park. It is expected to open as soon as final signage and fencing is installed.
“This new trail is really beautiful," Jim Filby Williams, director of property, parks and libraries, said in a statement. “We look forward to having the public getting to see and enjoy it.”
The section that will be closed, just northeast of the former Verso paper mill, runs along an area of the St. Louis River known as Erie Pier Ponds. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and city of Duluth are partnering in a $16 million cleanup project on the river and shoreline in that area.
The city said a marked detour will be in place, and the public will be asked to stay away from the closed section in order to avoid exposure to hazardous contaminants. The remaining 1.6 miles of the new segment will not be affected by the work.
When complete, the non-motorized, wheelchair-accessible 10.3-mile Cross-City Trail will link the Lakewalk in eastern Duluth with the Munger Trail and Waabizheshikana, formerly the Western Waterfront Trail, in western Duluth.