Construction on Jekyll Island’s portion of the Island Hopper Trail could possibly start at the end of this month.
Once completed the 36-miles of the Island Hopper Trail system will link more than 100 miles of existing trails on Sapelo, Jekyll and St. Simons islands to the larger Coastal Georgia Greenway Trail, a 155-mile trail system that will connect South Carolina to Florida through Georgia’s six coastal counties, according Jo Claire Hickson, executive director of Coastal Georgia Greenway.
The Jekyll Island portion of the project will cost $242,946, according to Jessica Scott, marketing and communications manager with the Jekyll Island Authority.
According to Hickson, 46 percent of the Island Hopper Trail either presently exists, or there is money budgeted for its construction.
The contract to start work on the Jekyll Island Hopper Trail has not yet been awarded. The Jekyll Island Authority is waiting for final signed documents from Seaboard Construction, a Brunswick company that will do the work starting at the western foot of the easternmost bridge of the Downting Musgrove Causeway and extend approximately 1 mile from down the causeway on the north side of the road.
Work will include demolition of existing asphalt, clearing and grading, asphalt repair and installation and construction of a 10-foot-wide asphalt trail including signs and striping.
Scott clarified that work done along the Downing Musgrove Causeway last year was not for the Island Hopper Trail as was earlier reported. That work was a resurfacing and repaving project conducted for the Jekyll Island Authority by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The work smoothed out the shoulder areas to make the causeway more cycling friendly.
“Last year’s resurfacing was always an outside project that had to be done independently of the Island Hopper Trail connection,” Scott said Wednesday.
The Jekyll Island Authority Board of Directors during a teleconference meeting last year approved a resolution in support of a Georgia Recreation Trails Program Grant Proposal to help pay for the Island Hopper Trail with $100,000 beginning this fiscal year.
The piece that is being added now on Jekyll is a 1-mile section from the western base of the bridge toward the Guest Information Center.
The ultimate goal is for the entire Greenway Trail to be on paths, completely separated from the road. Along the way, spur trails like the Island Hopper trail will break off and connect to other regional trails like those already snaking their way around Jekyll.
More than 30 percent of the Greenway route is currently on local, traffic-free, firm-surfaced trails. The remainder is comprised of interim on-road sections that link completed trails together and occasional ferries and trains where there is currently no safe on- or off-road option.
October is the expected completion date for this phase of Jekyll Island’s Hopper Trail project.