GOLD HILL — The Rogue River Greenway will be extended by nearly a mile next summer, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners decided Wednesday.
The commissioners voted to pave a three-quarter-mile section between Rock Point Bridge and Sardine Creek near Gold Hill. The section will parallel Highway 234.
The Rogue River Greenway eventually will stretch 30 miles between Central Point and Grants Pass. County officials intend to link it with the Bear Creek Greenway, creating a 50-mile bike and pedestrian pathway.
"We're going to get this finished eventually," said Commissioner John Rachor. "We just keep filling in the gaps."
A $1.5 million Transportation Enhancement Grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation will pay for the new segment, according to the Rogue River Greenway website. Greenway officials said the project is set to go to bid in March 2014, with a tentative start date for next summer.
The Rogue River Greenway is currently paved from the city of Rogue River at the Depot Street Bridge to Valley of the Rogue State Park at Twin Bridges Road.
"The long-term goal is to be able to connect the Greenway (from Grants Pass) to Emigrant Lake," said Jenna Stanke, bicycle pedestrian manager for Jackson County Parks. "There are still many miles ahead."
The final 1.4 miles of paved path on the Bear Creek Greenway is under construction. Crews from Salem-based Oregon Mainline Paving recently finished building retaining walls on the section, located between the Jackson County Expo's No. 5 gate and Upton Road in Central Point.
"They are shutting down for the wintertime and will start back up in March," Stanke said, adding that the segment is on schedule to be open by June 2014.
Greenway construction has been under way since the 1970s. The trail was deemed a State Designated Regional Trail in September by the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department. That means it's a nonmotorized public trail that serves as a connecting route between communities and recreational sites. It's the first trail in Southern Oregon to receive that designation.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email@example.com.