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Summit County

Akron Towpath Trail re-route is offering plenty of twists and turns
The new route will be in place while part of the trail is closed for work on the city's sewer project

Kabir Bhatia
The Mustill Store is a popular attraction for Akron Public School students as well as cyclists and passengers from the nearby Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
Courtesy of KABIR BHATIA
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A re-routing of the Towpath Trail near downtown Akron will be getting some safety upgrades to ensure walkers and bikers can still enjoy the trail. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports.
LISTEN: Embracing the Akron Towpath Trail re-route

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Part of the Towpath Trail will be closed for about three years due to Akron’s sewer project, which requires digging a giant, $184 million tunnel near downtown to help keep sewage from flowing into the Cuyahoga River and Ohio & Erie Canal.

Hikers and bikers have expressed concern that the re-route includes many S-turns and steep grades on Hickory Street. But Dan Rice -- CEO of the Ohio & Erie Canal Corridor Coalition -- says some people prefer the challenge.

“I don’t know too many hikers or bicyclists who don’t enjoy a little bit of a cardio workout while they’re out there on the trail. As a matter of fact, when we were out there, we came across a number of bicyclists who’ve actually actively used this route. They actually like it a little bit better because it’s a little bit different [and] gets their heart pumping a little bit.

He adds, "It also offers a great opportunity to go through the Hickory Street neighborhood, which is a really beautiful neighborhood, right along the ridgeline of the Cuyahoga Valley. And then you end up at the Mustill Store. So it is a different route. ... But it offers an opportunity for people to really experience their community from a different perspective."

Rice says extra signs have been put up to direct people, and two new cul-de-sacs will be put in to stop cars from coming onto the trail. City officials say a second towpath detour -- at the south end of the new tunnel -- will be set up near Canal Park next spring.

The Mustill Store will still be able to host educational programs for Akron Public School students, and the “Bike Aboard” program on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will also continue.
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