Work has started on an extension of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail to take it from Cleveland Park along Laurens Road to the Clemson University ICAR Campus. The extension largely utilized an abandoned Railbed stretching from Pleasantburg Drive back into the ICAR Campus, with the remainder of the trail into Cleveland Park being mostly created from scratch.
We shot an email to Ty Houck, Director of Greenways, Natural and Historic Resources for Greenville County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. He says they anticipate the construction beginning in January of 2018. The work being done now is just to clear the path and remove any existing railroad tracks. There are plans to build Pedestrian Bridges to cross over Laurens Road near the Spinx and Willy Taco, as well as bridges at Haywood Road (near the Goodwill) and at Verdae Boulevard (just past the Bi-Lo, near the golf course). The current extension will end at the CU-ICAR campus, but they look forward to eventually extending further into Mauldin, Simpsonville, and Fountain Inn.
Because the project is utilizing an abandoned railway, the path is mostly clear, and they’re even able to utilize some of the existing infrastructure that was put in place when it was an active railbed. The bridge that spans Woodruff Road for example was used for trains, and will work perfectly to get Pedestrians and Cyclists safely across the road. The same is true for Pleasantburg Drive, there is an underpass that will be utilized so nobody has to try and cross that extremely busy street.
When asked about funding the project, Houck says “We are comfortable that funding will not be a barrier to getting the trail built and we look forward to community partnerships that created success stories like Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Swamp Rabbit Station. ”
It’s going to be a great new addition to the already popular trail, giving it’s users a new place to explore. Once connected to the CU-ICAR campus, you can easily take the existing bike paths over to the Woodruff Road area to visit shops. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see new businesses start to pop up along this new extension.