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2018-2019 Progress and News

 Status Map of Projects Along NRHT

Nov '19 4 Next Level Trails Applications Submitted on NRHT Corridor
Jly '19 IndyGo Blue Line & NRHT Synergy across Indianapolis
Apr '19 Preview of USBR50-Alternate along NRHT
Feb '19 Several Bike Trail Presentations Highlight Progress & Objectives
Jan '19 Local Support Growing for Vandalia Trail in Indy
Aug '18 Cross-State NRHT August 2018 Update
Aug '18 People Pathways Opens Putnam Nature Trail Phase 2
Feb '18 Progress Across the State

Mar '18 Monthly NRHT, Inc. Bike Rides Planned


2015 & before

November 2019
4 Next Level Trails Applications Submitted on NRHT Corridor

At the beginning of November, four organizations along the cross-Indiana National Road Heritage Trail corridor submitted applications to the State in the second round of the $90 million Next Level Trails grant program.  In this round, the State will award $25 million to regionally significant bike trail projects.  As sections of the cross-Indiana NRHT, these four applications are characterized as "regionally significant".  If all 4 are funded, this would add 10.9 miles to the overall open trail length and result in the longest continuous sections increasing to 19 and 21 miles.  The applicants are:
City of Greencastle           2.5 miles
Hendricks County Parks    3.4 miles
Town of Plainfield             2.3 miles
Hancock County               2.7 miles

Their locations and how they would connect or extend existing trails are shown on the map below (click on map for larger version).  The State expects to complete grant awards selections by early 2020.

NLT Round
                    2 NRHT grant applications

July 2019
IndyGo Blue Line & NRHT Synergy across Indianapolis

In 2021-2022, IndyGo will build the infrastructure for the 24-mile Blue Line Bus Rapid Transit system along Washington Street (Historic National Road) connecting the Indianapolis International Airport with Cumberland through downtown.  This will involve rebuilding much of Washington Street itself and will include at least one 2.2-mile section of 8’ wide sidepath multi-use trail on the west side.  This highlights the importance of this corridor in the transportation network of the city.  That is the same reason that 15 years ago a group of cycling infrastructure volunteers began promoting continuous bike/ped accommodation along this corridor as part of the cross-Indiana National Road Heritage Trail (NRHT).  Through history, the city had developed a concentration of population and services along this route with key connections also to its neighbors to the east and west because of the national scale of the road.

NRHT across Indy

With the NRHT bike/ped route well-established on the east side with the Pennsy Trail and connectors and the recent momentum to create the Vandalia Trail for the route on the west side, a compelling synergy with the new Blue Line Transit system is becoming very apparent.  These two different modes will feed each other, providing more transportation flexibility than either would on its own.  For example, for someone considering biking or walking east-west across much of the city (to work, touring, etc), knowing that there's a dependable and frequent bicycle-friendly rapid bus service easily accessible from the entire route would give that much more confidence to launch into the journey, since they would not have to worry about the potential to be stranded due to fatigue, malfunction, weather, or other unforeseen event.  This group of people may not typically consider using transit, but becoming familiar with it because of their non-motorized transportation interest would increase the chances that they'd then choose to use the transit in other situations, too.

The map above
shows the current status of the NRHT across Indy and where expansion is planned in the near term.  It also illustrates how the new Blue Line Transit will be very accessible to most of the NRHT across Indy.  Please join NRHT, Inc., the White Lick Creek & Vandalia Trail Alliance, the local City-County Councillor Jared Evans, and the growing list of supporting residents, officials, and organizations to help promote and facilitate completion of the remaining sections of the NRHT on the west side of Indianapolis.  Note that Phase 1 of the Vandalia Trail to Mickley Ave will provide a trail connection from Bridgeport and Plainfield to the Blue Line Transit at High School Road and to the new multi-use trail along Washington Street.

Two upcoming activities that highlight the NRHT route in Indianapolis are the NRHT, Inc. 2019 Bike Rides (Indy) the morning of August 10 and the WLCVTA Bike/Walk event the morning of September 28.

April 2019
Preview of USBR50-Alternate along NRHT

The U.S. Bicycle Route System (Facebook) includes 3 routes in Indiana, one of which is the east-west on-road USBR50, closely paralleling the cross-Indiana National Road Heritage Trail. USBR50 uses mostly US 40 (Historic National Road) except where it diverts south around Indianapolis to follow a RAIN route created for 2,000 cyclists to cross the entire state in 1 day. To offer touring cyclists a more relaxed & enjoyable option across central Indiana, NRHT, Inc. has worked with cyclists, tourism bureaus & transportation plans in central Indiana to define USBR50-Alternate with much more access to the services & attractions of Putnam, Hendricks, Marion, & Hancock Counties. This route has the same mileage across central Indiana as USBR50, but with about half of those miles now also taking advantage of NRHT bike trails & Indy bike lanes with more to come. A detailed interactive map of these routes is available for navigation in Google Maps. Later this year, Visit Hendricks County (Facebook) will publish a web site for Indiana’s USBR50/50-Alternate, much like that for Indiana’s north-south USBR35. More sections of USBR50-Alternate east & west will follow. We’ll keep you posted.
USBR50 & USBR50-Alternate routes

February/March 2019
Several Bike Trail Presentations Highlight Progress & Objectives

Several bike trail presentations made across the state in February & March highlight the progress of bike trails in Indiana and of the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail.

Feb. 16 - Guest Speaker Spot: Bike Trails in Hendricks County & Indiana, hosted by Hendricks County Parks & Recreation.  Greg Midgley gave a 15-slide presentation with a detailed status of bike trails in Hendricks County and a high level summary of Indiana, both including NRHT components.  Greg also
handed out a supplemental 1-page information sheet for Hendricks County.

Feb. 20 - Cross-State NRHT Status & Indy's Vandalia Trail presentation with the East White Lick Creek Trail Conservancy hosted at Merchants West quarterly meeting in Indianapolis.

Feb. 28 / Mar. 21 - Cross-State NRHT & Henry County, presented with Healthy Communities of Henry County at Knightstown Forward meeting & Knightstown Town Council meeting.

January 2019
Local Support Growing for Vandalia Trail in Indy

A coalition of local residents, business owners, Indianapolis City Council representatives, and trail supporters is joining together to support the development of a new segment of Vandalia Trail on the far west side of Indianapolis, to connect near the airport to Plainfield’s growing Vandalia Trail. Part of the 2014 Indy Greenways Master Plan, this trail segment would stretch 3.4 miles from the Hendricks County line to High School Road, giving pedestrians and bicyclists a safer alternative to congested U.S. 40, and laying the groundwork for the entire Indy Vandalia Trail (map below) to the Eagle Creek Trail and connection near the Hendricks County line with the future East White Lick Creek Trail.

If you’d like to see this important quality of life project become a reality, visit the Friends of the Vandalia Trail Facebook page for updates and contact the Friends of the Vandalia Trail to see how you can help.

                    Greenways Masterplan Vandalia Trail

August 2018
ross-State NRHT August 2018 Update

This has been a big year for the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail with 9 more miles designated as “open trail”, now totaling 68 miles, and 16 other miles preserved for future development. Highlights by county are:

Vigo (9.9 miles)
The City of Terre Haute extended the paved sidepath along 1st Street south 2 blocks to the Historic National Road connecting with protected sidepaths already on the bridges across the Wabash River. This extends Terre Haute’s NRHT and connecting paths to 7.9 miles. In addition, the NRHT, Inc. board designated the 2-mile crushed stone Wabashiki Trail across West Terre Haute as part of the cross-state NRHT. Vigo County Parks & Recreation Department built this trail in 2012 on levees next to the DNR Wabashiki Fish & Wildlife Area. Plans for a future trail connection between these Terre Haute and West Terre Haute trails was announced this year with a mile long boardwalk along the causeway between them.
Terre Haute
                  sidepath extension

Terre Haute NRHT sidepath extension - 0.5 miles


West Terre Haute Wabashiki Trail - 2.0 miles

Putnam (11.8 miles) – On August 14, the not-for-profit People Pathways organization officially opened the 2.6-mile smooth packed stone Phase 2 of its Putnam Nature Trail extending southwest from Limedale, very close to its existing 0.8-mile Phase 1 extending southwest from Greencastle. Phase 2 includes a well-developed trailhead at CR 150 W at the south edge of Limedale and a nice gravel parking lot at CR 300 W generously shared by DNR’s Deer Creek Fish & Wildlife Area next to which the trail runs for much of its route. In addition, the City of Greencastle began construction of its 1-mile Phase 1 of the paved Campus Link Trail that will eventually cross the city, connecting the Vandalia Trail with the Putnam Nature Trail. People Pathways continues to manage the well-established Vandalia Trail across the eastern half of the county from Greencastle to the Hendricks County line, connecting to Hendricks County Parks & Recreation’s 4-mile Vandalia Trail for a total length of 12 miles.

Putnam Nature Trail Phase 2
People Pathways Putnam Nature Trail Phase 2 - 2.6 miles

Hendricks (11.1 miles) – In the past year, Hendricks County Parks and Recreation paved the 4 miles of Vandalia Trail that has been used as a rustic trail in the Amo-Coatesville area since 2005. Along with major upgrades of trailheads in both towns, this has significantly increased the trail’s popularity with bicyclists and pedestrians. This is part of the 12-mile Vandalia Trail open from Amo to Greencastle. Plainfield Parks & Recreation’s 7.2 miles of paved Vandalia Trail and local connector trails continue to serve as the NRHT’s cross-town route. In addition, the Town of Plainfield Indiana has begun construction work on its new gateway area on the north side of the Historic National Road at the Marion County line which we understand will include accommodation for the Vandalia Trail along the north side of the Historic National Road.

Hendricks County Vandalia Trail

Hendricks County Parks Vandalia Trail paved - 4.0 miles

Marion (18.5 miles)Indy Parks and Recreation acquired much of the former Pennsylvania Railroad corridor in the 3.5-mile Pennsy Trail gap between Irvington and the Town of Cumberland and plans to begin trail construction in that area in the next year or so. This will lengthen Indy’s 15.5-mile continuous series of trails along the NRHT route. Indy Parks also plans in 2019 to upgrade three sections of the Pleasant Run Trail used for the NRHT route between Fountain Square and Irvington. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick, along Washington Street, Virginia Avenue, & Shelby Street, continues to serve as the heart of the cross-state NRHT in the center of downtown Indy. Finally, with Indy’s repaving of the international airport’s North Perimeter Road and 10’ wide paved shoulders, the NRHT, Inc. board designated a 2-mile section of those shoulders as “interim open trail”. The final route proposed for the Indy Greenways Master Plan is a separated sidepath along the north side of this road, but in the meantime, the relatively low traffic, no curbs, and wide shoulders along this section provide a suitable environment for NRHT cyclists traveling between Plainfield and Indianapolis.

Hancock (8.5 miles) – Working to connect the well-established Pennsy Trails by the Town of Cumberland and Greenfield Parks, the local volunteer group Pennsy Trails of Hancock County acquired 1-mile of former Pennsylvania Railroad corridor between CR 400 W and CR 500 W, coordinated with Hancock County to build a large gravel parking lot at CR 400 W and opened an initial 1-mile rustic Pennsy Trail hiking trail. The group also helped coordinate award of a federal TAP grant to Hancock County to pave this section of Pennsy Trail in 2020 and is currently hard at work raising funds for the 20% local match required for that grant. At the same time, a coalition of the towns throughout the county, plus the Hancock County Community Foundation, Hancock Regional Hospital, and Pennsy Trails of Hancock County is working with a consulting firm to create a countywide trails plan with the Pennsy Trail as the key backbone for the system.

                  County Pennsy Trail
Rustic Pennsy Trail (CR 400 W - CR 500 W) - 1.0 miles

Henry (7.0 miles) – The not-for-profit Healthy Communities of Henry County has been working on acquiring several parcels in the Dunreith area & plans to soon begin more trail clearing in that area in order to connect the existing 4-mile Raysville-Dunreith section and 3-mile Lewisville section of packed stone & natural surface NRHT across south-central Henry County.

Wayne (0.8 miles) – The City of Richmond, Indiana continues to work with an RTP grant to pave 1 mile of Riverside Trail which was originally launched by the Society for the Preservation and Use of Resources (SPUR).

August 2018
People Pathways Opens Putnam Nature Trail Phase 2

Tuesday afternoon, August 14, People Pathways formally introduced to the community and thanked the many partners who helped create the 2.6-mile smooth packed stone Phase 2 of the Putnam Nature Trail extending southwest from Limedale along the former Pennsylvania Railroad. The event at the CR 150 W trailhead drew a large crowd and included homemade hobo stew cooked on-site all day, the boys and girls track teams from South Putnam High School inaugurating the trail with a run from the southwest end of the trail, much happy networking by trail builders, trail users, local officials and trail supporters in general, and a fun speech by People Pathways Chairwomen Joy Marley on the history of how this wonderful new community amenity came to fruition and the people and groups who were instrumental in it. This is a great addition to the cross-state NRHT, being one of the most scenic segments of the overall initiative, plus provides cyclists a direct route to bypass 3.4 miles of precarious Manhattan Road between Greencastle and US 40.

More background on the event and trail was described in a Greencastle Banner-Graphic article.

Phase 2 is not yet connected to the 0.8-mile Phase 1 to the north that People Pathways opened 2 years ago, since these segments are currently separated by a low-traffic active railroad line in Limedale. Work is on-going to negotiate a future crossing.

February 2018
Progress Across the State

Many trail projects along the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail initiative are currently adding or upgrading miles.  This Spring, People Pathways will open 2 more miles of the Putnam Nature Trail (Phase 2) with a crushed stone surface southwest of Greencastle.  The city of Greencastle has begun clearing the route for its next 1-mile phase of the paved Campus Link Trail that will eventually extend across the entire city parallel to Veterans Memorial Highway.  Hendricks County Parks & Recreation is near completion of its upgrade of 4.5 miles of the rustic Vandalia Trail to paved.  Indianapolis Parks & Recreation is in the acquisition process of Pennsy corridor in the trail gap between Irvington and Cumberland, with plans to add some construction in 2019 as well as upgrade several sections of Pleasant Run Trail that year.  The volunteer group Pennsy Trails of Hancock County has completed acquisition of 1-mile of Pennsy corridor in the trail gap between Cumberland and Greenfield and plans to open it as a rustic trail in 2018, then upgrade it with an awarded TAP grant within 2 years.  Also in Hancock County, a consortium of 7 municipalities, Pennsy Trails of Hancock County, the Hancock County Community Foundation, and Hancock Regional Health launched in the past year creation of a formal countywide trail plan intended to connect all communities in the county.


March 2018
Monthly NRHT, Inc. Bike Rides Planned

NRHT, Inc. has planned a series of free monthly bike rides to explore the open sections of the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail and to enjoy the local culture of each area. Below are the dates that are set this Spring and summer and the maximum mileages. The out and back routes allow riders to choose shorter distances and still ride with the group. Most rides will include 2 trails connected by on-road sections of U.S. Bike Route 50 or proposed 50A.  Individual announcements will be made for each ride giving starting times and locations and more details on the surface types, etc.  For a preview, visit the NRHT maps page.

April 21 - Terre Haute/Vigo County (NRHT, ISU trails, Wabashiki Trail) [22 miles]

May 12 - Indianapolis (Pennsy Trail, Pleasant Run Trail, Indpls Cultural Trail, White River Trail, Eagle Creek Trail) [32 miles]

June 16 - Hendricks County (Plainfield & Hendricks County Vandalia Trails) [45 miles]

July 14 - Hancock County (Greenfield & Cumberland Pennsy Trails, Buck Creek Trail) [32 miles]

Aug 11 - Henry County (Raysville & Lewisville NRHTs) [19 miles]

Sep 22 - Putnam County (People Pathways, Vandalia Trail, Putnam Nature Trail) [30 miles]

  Henry County Henry County Hendricks County Brazil / Clay County Cambridge City Greenfield /
                          Hancock County Richmond / Wayne
                          County Indy / Marion County Greencastle /
                          Putnam County Terre Haute / Vigo