Northeast Texas Trail receives millions in grant funding


Aug. 21—A recreational trail that passes through northern Hunt County and stretches across northeast Texas has received a huge grant to help pay for improvements.

The Texas Department of Transportation announced it had received federal funds to expand two trail corridors in northeast Texas and El Paso. Both trails are components of the state’s envisioned Bicycle Tourism Trails network.

The US Department of Transportation has awarded TxDOT a $25 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant to continue the expansion and development of transportation networks across the state that support economic development and tourism.

Much of the funding, about $20 million, is earmarked to complete a 130-mile rail trail that connects seven counties northeast of Dallas. The Northeast Texas Trail is a former rail corridor that stretches 130 miles from Farmersville to New Boston.

The Wolfe City Rail Trail is part of the Chaparral Rails-to-Trails., which is in turn a portion of the Northeast Texas Trail, or NETT. It is the fifth longest trail in America and the longest in Texas.

The money will be used to repair and build new bridges; build new bike lanes, sidewalks, and shared use paths with accessible ramps; clear and upgrade trail surfaces; install trail amenities and traffic control devices such as lighting, lane markings and beacons; and add and improve landscaping.

The Chaparral Rails-to-Trails Inc. manages the section from Farmersville to Paris, which includes Merit, Celeste and Wolfe City. It is one of eight local rail bank entities overseeing the project.

“Access to safe and efficient infrastructure is critical for Texas,” Sen. John Cornyn said. “I applaud this announcement and look forward to seeing the positive impact this investment will have across the Lone Star State.”

“These are significant steps on a long journey to construction of a statewide bicycle tourism trail network,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Robert “Robie” Vaughn said. “We are very excited to receive this award that’ll help make these corridors safer and easier to use for cyclists, runners, walkers and anyone else who uses these trails.”

Earlier this month, Hank Pickering of Wolfe City, a board member of the NorthEast Texas Trail Coalition, said Hayter Engineering was completing the final survey on the Wolfe City Rail Trail.

“Soon we will have a section of trail accessible for all ages that will travel from the west side of town all the way to the City lakes,” Pickering said.

The NETT webpage is netexastrail.org and has an interactive map and history of the trail and the Wolfe City Rail Trail page is at WolfeCityRailTrail.org

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