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Work Nears End on Bicycle Path

August 05, 1999|ROSEANN LANGLOIS

A six-mile bike and pedestrian path connecting the mountains of the Ojai Valley to the ocean in Ventura is almost ready as crews near the final month of construction.

Work crews smoothed the dirt flanking portions of the Ventura River Trail on Wednesday as cyclists sped past.

The $4.5-million project linking the Ojai Valley Trail with the Omer Rains Trail in Ventura is scheduled for completion in September.

Ventura City Engineer Rick Raives said a grand opening celebration is being planned for the end of next month and may include a bicycle or running race.

Many key elements to the trail, which follows the now-defunct Southern Pacific railroad right of way, will not be added until the last minute, Raives said.

Features include interpretive signs, mile markers and drinking fountains, some of which will be integrated into public art pieces.

Raives said the project has been in the planning stages for at least six years, and about 80% of the trail will be funded through state bikeway and federal transportation grants.

Although the trail is technically closed, Raives said he knows that people are already using it.

The only concern is safety.

"We just want to make sure people don't get hurt," he said, noting that construction equipment and debris are on parts of the trail.

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