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Popular state trail reopened following years of repairs

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FILE - Elroy-Sparta bike trail (PHOTO: Wisconsin DNR, @WIDNR on Facebook)

SPARTA, Wis. (AP) — The popular Elroy-Sparta State Trail in western Wisconsin officially reopened over the weekend following several years of flood-related repairs.

Summer flood damage in 2018 closed the 32-mile-long trail which had about 60,000 visitors a year. The state Department of Natural Resources said the trail needed two complete bridge replacements and landslide repairs, among other work.

According to the DNR, $2.3 million needed for repairs came from the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the state.

While repair work is largely complete, a 1-mile (1.6 kilometers) section of the trail was closed as of Friday because of bridge safety concerns. VanLanduyt said it’s set to reopen after Memorial Day weekend, with a permanent bridge replacement coming in late 2023 or early 2024.

State Sen. Howard Marklein, of Spring Green, and state Rep. Tony Kurtz, of Wonewoc, spearheaded efforts in the Legislature to secure funds for the trail’s repairs, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

“The easy part was the funding,” VanLanduyt said. “The more difficult part was just the sheer amount of infrastructure that needed to be replaced, and designing all of that, and then going through the bidding process and then finally a very long construction period as well.”

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