Answer Man: Happy trails: Douglas construction nearly complete

July 14, 2018

Dear Answer Man: I (and other bike riders on the Douglas Trail) would like to know when the portion of the trail a couple of miles south of Pine Island will be paved. The gravel is very challenging to ride on! Thanks so much. — Peggy

As an avid biker, I’ve been wondering myself. Yes, the Answer Man sometimes gets off his keister (Life is more than answering life’s mysteries). Last summer, bicyclists were given a rude awakening as they made their way from Rochester to Pine Island along the the 12.5-mile Douglas Trail: Road construction signs blocking their path two miles south of town.

Work on turning County Road 5 Northwest, a gravel road that runs by Pine Island Elementary School, into a paved road was the reason for the signs. The $7 million upgrades include a roundabout at County Road 3, just south of Pine Island, and other road improvements. Bikers and runners can now pass under a new boxed culvert on their way to Pine Island. But a 500-feet stretch of path remains unpaved — and treacherous for bikers hoping to avoid being stranded with a punctured tire.

But life can be paved with good intentions. According to Jeff Busch, Olmsted County senior construction specialist, concrete paving of the road will begin next week. Bituminous paving of the Douglas Trail should happen soon afterward.

“I would say within the month, it’s going to be opened,” Bush said.

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