Work is once again progressing on a trail around Westlake.
After being stalled for nearly a year, Franklin County is working with consulting firm A. Morton Thomas and Associates Inc. of Christiansburg to design the proposed loop around Westlake Towne Center, which originally got its start in 2017.
The proposed trail is the result of a Federal Lands Access Grant awarded to Booker T. Washington National Monument and Franklin County. The purpose of the $600,000 grant is to provide better access to federal lands through funding for alternative ways to access the parks, such as public trails.
The trail likely will be a 2-mile loop with a shorter spur connecting to trails at the national monument. It will be 10-feet wide with a surface of crushed gravel cinder and possibly paved in some areas. Prefabricated bridges will be installed at stream crossings along the trail.
Steve Sandy, Franklin County director of planning community development, said work is currently being done to decide the trail’s exact route, which is expected to cross near Runk & Pratt’s retirement village and Westlake Towne Center.
The route should be decided by February. “Right now we have a generic idea,” he said.
Once surveys are done, and a route is finalized, a public meeting will be held to get feedback from the community. Sandy said the public meeting is currently planned for this spring.
Following the public meeting, Sandy said plans will be finalized and sent to the Virginia Department of Transportation for final review. The grant was provided VDOT’s Federal Highway Administration.
Once approved by VDOT, the county will send out a request for bids from contractors to construct the trail.
Current plans are to have a contractor in place by the fall.
Sandy said construction of the trail isn’t expected to take long once a contractor is hired.
Work could be completed as soon as early next year, he said.