New section of Rogue River Greenway set for paving

GOLD HILL — The Rogue River Greenway will be extended by nearly a mile next summer, Jackson County commissioners decided today.

The commissioners voted to pave a three-quarter-mile section between the Rock Point Bridge and Sardine Creek near Gold Hill. It will run from the bridge near Del Rio Vineyards and parallel Highway 234 to Sardine Creek.

The Rogue River Greenway eventually will stretch 30 miles between Central Point and Grants Pass. County officials hope to link it up with the Bear Creek Greenway, creating a 50-mile ribbon of bike and pedestrian pathway.

"We're going to get this finished eventually," said Commissioner John Rachor today. "We just keep filling in the gaps."

A $1.5 million transportation enhancement grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation will pay for the portion, 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 sometime next summer.

Currently, the Rogue River Greenway is paved from the city of Rogue River at the Depot Street Bridge down to the 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 still under construction. Construction crews from Salem-based Oregon Mainline Paving LLC just finished 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 portion is still on schedule to be open to the public by June 2014.

— Ryan Pfeil

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