PONTOON BEACH - Just in time for an unseasonably warm last week of December, a segment of the Madison County Transit (MCT) Nickel Plate Trail from IL-143 to Blackburn Road which has been closed for reconstruction, is now re-open and the much-anticipated trail improvements are now complete.

In November 2021, MCT began the $2.6 million project to reconstruct a 2.3-mile section of the MCT Nickel Plate Trail in unincorporated Madison County with a new asphalt surface, new box culverts, and a new 210-foot, pre-engineered bridge with a concrete deck—the first concrete deck bridge in the MCT Trails system. The new asphalt surface not only provides bicyclists with a smoother ride, it reduces ongoing maintenance expenses. In response to concerns from the area’s running community, who prefer a softer surface, MCT installed 2.5-foot-wide limestone shoulders on each side of the reconstructed trail. The project also improved drainage conditions and replaced century-old box culverts which were beginning to deteriorate.

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“These improvements make the highly utilized MCT Nickel Plate Trail safer and more user friendly for all of our trailgoers,” said MCT Managing Director SJ Morrison. “I want to thank the MCT Board for their commitment to enhancing the MCT Trails, which add value to the quality of life for Madison County residents and visitors.”

The improvements to the MCT Nickel Plate Trail were funded in part by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, MCT Local funds, and a grant from the Metro East Park and Recreation District (MEPRD). Keller Construction served as the contractor, and the project engineer was Thouvenot Wade & Moerchen Inc.

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“There were some unique challenges on this project, so I want to recognize our hard-working team as well as our contractors and consultants for all of their efforts in making this scenic trail and that impressive bridge a reality,” said Morrison.

For details on the MCT Trails, visit mcttrails.org, email trails@mct.org, or call 618-797-4600.

Madison County Transit (MCT) provides multi-modal transportation services for Madison County, Illinois. MCT operates a fixed-route bus service, connecting to MetroLink; express weekday commuter service directly to and from downtown St. Louis; and seasonal express service to the Muny. For elderly and disabled residents who are unable to use the fixed-route buses, MCT provides complementary paratransit service. MCT is also responsible for the construction and maintenance of more than 138 miles of bikeways that comprise the MCT Trails system, as well as overseeing RideFinders, the St. Louis region’s FREE carpooling and vanpooling program.

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