Rib Mountain trail opens after 20 years of construction - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Rib Mountain trail opens after 20 years of construction


The fall breeze is perfect for a long walk or a bike ride. But for people in Rib Mountain, there was no way for them to ride near the busy highway until now.

"Finally we got a bike trail that is a safe route between the alternative on River Drive," said Dennis Helke of Wausau.

Monday was the opening ceremony for the U.S. 51/Wis. 29 trail that is almost a mile long. It connects Rib Mountain's commercial district to a system of regional trails almost 100 miles long.

The project took twenty years to complete, and people are ready to experience it.

"It gives us another trail,” Helke said. “The more trails the better."

Helke is part of the Wausau Wheelers, who ride trails all over the area. Helke and 120 other members are ready to test out the new trail.

"Everyone's in favor of a new trail especially when it's a safer mode," he said.

Town officials and lawmakers are also excited that the trail is finally open.

"We're hoping it helps with development and things of that nature," said Allen Opall, the Rib Mountain Chairman.

The trail has a path that's 10 feet wide, and it has another big safety feature.

"We have a tunnel going underneath the interstate here which means that people don't have to cross at one of the crossings," said State Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon).

The trail opens just when the fall color in the area is reaching its peak, perfect for enjoying the outdoors with a bike ride.

Rib Mountain received a nearly $200,000 grant from the state department of transportation to build the new trail.

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