OUSTON – The trail has been paved and work on three whistle stops on the Tanglefoot Trail will soon begin.
The 44.5-mile Tanglefoot Trail is being built on the old GM&O railbed and has been cleared and topped with a smooth black ribbon on asphalt. Phase II of the project will now see Hooker Construction build whistle stops at Ingomar, Ecru, Algoma and Houlka. Whistle stops will include restroom facilities, water fountains, bike racks, benches and picnic tables.
The Phase II contract carries a $319,000 price tag.
Phase III will be the construction of larger gateways in Houston, Pontotoc and New Albany.
Tanglefoot Trail is tentatively scheduled to open in July of 2013.
Clearing and construction on the 44-mile Tanglefoot Trail began last summer.
“I was on the CDF (Chickasaw Development Foundation) board when we started this project seven years ago,” said Lee Nabors, Houston’s representative on the Tanglefoot Trail Board of Directors. “It’s great seeing all this come together.”
Nabors said the effort is beginning to come together and will soon bear fruit.
Tanglefoot Trail runs through three North Mississippi counties – Union, Pontotoc and Chickasaw.
The rails-to-trails project has converted old GM&O railroad track into a 10-foot wide multi-use trail for cyclists and pedestrians. The project will have three-foot wide shoulders on each side of the trail.
The first phase of the project has seen brush cleared from the rail-bed and the repair of about 30 bridges crossing creeks along the corridor. Winter weather has slowed paving crews prompting a delay in the formal opening initially slated for this spring.
Nabors said there is already interest in the trail and he expects it to draw people from around the country.
“I don’t think people around here realize what Tanglefoot Trail will mean to this community,” said Nabors. “It’s going to be something very nice for Houston and it will draw people to our town.”
Tanglefoot Trail has an estimated economic impact of as much as $4.8 million for Northeast Mississippi. The trail is expected to see up to 100,000 users each year.
Houston’s gateway will be built near the site of the old railroad depot, south of where the railroad crosses U.S. Highway 8 in Houston.