While considering plans for a new transmission line on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, local and state officials saw an opportunity to create a much-needed connection between the town of Crisfield and a regional recreational center. Poor health statistics for Somerset County indicated that residents of all abilities needed access to activities year-round. Running parallel to railroad tracks that had been abandoned since the 1970s, a shared use bike path completed the first phase of construction with the creation of 4.5 miles of paved trail along MD 413 to Marion. The goal of this project was to provide a safe recreational option for residents to use throughout the seasons and the new trail offers an ADA-compliant, 10-foot wide pathway complete with lighting, signage, ramps and crosswalks. Local small businesses will also economically benefit from the increase in foot traffic near their store locations.
The KCI team worked with municipal entities to overcome several significant challenges such as securing funding, obtaining right-of-way, mitigating impact to the natural environment and safely crossing roadway intersections. As this project was not included in the budgets of the state or county, creative financing methods were utilized to fund the development. Officials applied for two state grants and received both simultaneously, an unusual occurrence. Over the years, an array of wetlands had developed along the alignment and offsite mitigation was required in addition to compliance for numerous environmental regulations and new stormwater drainage solutions. Engineers worked with the railroad company and nearby property owners to secure right-of-way and new landscaping was used as a barrier to protect pedestrians and cyclists from drainage ditches and adjacent waterways.