MIDDLEBURY — Part of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail will be closed for construction until the end of May.
Construction of the trail between York Drive and the end of the path east of the Dairy Queen in Middlebury will create a work zone that stretches from the crossing of S.R. 13 at York Drive to C.R. 43. That section will be inaccessible and unsafe for several months, according to the Elkhart County Parks Department.
The parks department, the Indiana Department of Transportation and Walsh and Kelly, the construction firm hired for the project, have decided to close that stretch of the trail beginning Monday, March 25. The parking lot and restroom at C.R. 43 will be open April 1 for trail users headed toward Shipshewana.
“The closing is necessary because trail construction is happening at the same time S.R. 13 will be resurfaced from C.R. 14 past the Dairy Queen to S.R. 4, making it impossible to have trail traffic exit onto S.R. 13,” said Scott Van Ommeran, county parks superintendent.
Van Ommeran asked regular trail users to be patient during the construction period.
“We do not want people continuing west past C.R. 43 and getting to the end of the trail with nowhere to go,” he said. “The liability of allowing people to blaze their own trail through the construction zone or across private property is too high. After discussion of alternatives to closing the trail, Elkhart County Parks, INDOT and Walsh and Kelly agreed that they could not provide temporary access across private property in order to keep the trail open during construction.”
The trail is also closed north of C.R. 22 and through the tunnel under U.S. 20. A 1.2-mile section is being built by the town of Middlebury to connect the tunnel to the Wayne Street Trail and Middlebury Greenway along Railroad Street. The parking lot at C.R. 22 and C.R. 37 is open for trail users going toward Goshen on the Pumpkinvine Trail.