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Workmen smooth the new pavement on part of the Capital Trail ibeside a cornfield n eastern Henrico County, VA Monday, July 27, 2015. The bike trail, when completed, will link Jamestown, the first capital, with the current one, Richmond.

Bicyclists have been out in full force as crews put the final touches on landscaping along a newly paved portion of the Virginia Capital Trail that runs through Richmond and into eastern Henrico County.

The paved trail that’s prominent along Dock Street in Richmond and now continues on the riverfront just past Rocketts Landing will soon connect Richmond to Jamestown.

But for now, the newly completed portion is creating plenty of fanfare.

“The asphalt is all on the ground, and the bridges are done,” Beth Weisbrod, executive director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, said on Sunday.

“Walkers, runners, cyclists are all using the trail now. So it seems like there’s some pent-up demand.”

The path is wide enough for bicyclists traveling opposite directions, and cyclists are able to go from Belle Isle to Rocketts Landing, just east of city limits, while hardly using streets. A portion of Dock Street also has a parallel sidewalk for walkers.

“It’s just beautiful. Everyone has done a great job, and people have embraced it and realized what we’ve been talking about all these years,” Weisbrod said.

Now that the Richmond portion of the trail has taken form, Weisbrod said, many are eager to see the final product — an uninterrupted bike trail from Richmond to Jamestown.



The trail will cover about 52 miles in four jurisdictions, beginning by the Canal Walk downtown.

The city of Richmond also has partnered with CSX and the Capital Trees nonprofit environmental organization to complete a 5½-acre environmental and beautification project along Dock Street. A portion of that work has been completed.

In a statement, Jeannette McKittrick, chairwoman of the Capital Trees’ board of trustees, said that the beatification project dubbed the “Low Line” will be “transformative.”

Attractive vegetation is replacing invasive weeds along that portion of the Virginia Capital Trail, which fronts the James River and is peppered with historical interpretive signs.

“It is Capital Trees’ vision to help Richmond live up to its stunningly beautiful natural gifts, to work harder to protect the James River, and to work harder, think harder, about landscapes and streetscapes,” McKittrick said.

The entire trail, other than the landscaping, is scheduled to be completed before the Sept. 19 start of the UCI Road World Championships. The cycling event is expected to attract a total of about 450,000 spectators over nine days.

A public ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 at Great Shiplock Park, to celebrate the grand opening.

“I think the trail is going to completely transform not just the riverfront but the way people think about this kind of amenity,” Weisbrod said.




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bshulleeta@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6391

Twitter: @ShulleetaRTD

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