PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — It has been 28 years since the first section of the Pinellas Trail — actually called the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail — opened to the public.
- Pinellas Trail almost done after nearly three decades
- Two sections of trail left to complete
- LINK: Tuesday, Nov. 13 meeting planned
- MORE: Spectrum Bay News 9 Traffic Inbox stories
Through a partnership with CSX, Marquis inspired the Rails to Trails program, according to Nancy McKibben, project manager of the Pinellas Trail project.
"And our first section was the CSX right of way that ran along the west side of our Pinellas Coast," she said.
Those five miles connected Taylor Park in Largo to Seminole Park in Seminole.
Fast forward nearly three decades and the trail is almost done.
"We will have a complete 75-mile loop that will circumnavigate the entire county," McKibben said.
There are only two sections of trail left to go: The north gap from Enterprise Road up to John Chesnut Senior Park and the south gap, which is Carillon up to U.S. 19 near Haines Bayshore.
For the north portion, the county has partnered with Duke Energy to use its transmission lanes and is expected to be complete in two years.
The south gap is planned as part of the Gateway Expressway Project.
What's exciting for trail users is not just 75 miles of trail in Pinellas County, but the connections made with other county trails.
"We'll be able to connect to the Tri-County Trail that goes along Keystone Road into Pasco and Hillsborough County," McKibben said. "We're going to be able to connect to the State Road 60 trail that comes across the Courtney Campbell Causeway."
There's a trail planned for the new Howard Frankland Bridge when it is reconstructed in the next few years.
McKillen said the plan is to ultimately connect Pinellas County to trails all across the state.
A meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 5:30 p.m. for residents to learn more about the project.