Bicycle rail trail tunnel in Fairmont, West Virginia

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — The City of Fairmont announced that it plans to partially fill one of the four gaps in the state on the rail-trail route from Parkersburg, West Virginia to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (P2P).

According to a Facebook post by the city, it has acquired land along the West Fork River that will allow it to extend the West Fork River Trail by 2.5 miles, from the Norway Trestle to the Beltline Neighborhood. This will fill more than half of the 4.6-mile gap of the P2P rail-trail in Fairmont.

The city also shared a proposed route for the new trail section that create several new access points, including a trailhead in the Beltline Neighborhood. The design will be finalized in the coming months, and the city will post updates on expected construction timelines as they become available, the post said.

Proposed route for the West Fork River Rail Trail expansion in Fairmont (Courtesy: City of Fairmont)

A 2018 study on the feasibility of completing the P2P rail-trail route said that filling the four gaps in West Virginia “will have a transformative impact on West Virginia’s economy,” and draw 800,000 tourists and $40 million in annual revenue to the state.

The other three gaps in West Virginia are from Shinnston to Spelter in Harrison County, from the Harrison North Rail Trail to the eastern extent of the North Bend Rail Trail through the city of Clarksburg, and western end of the North Bend Rail Trail to Point Park in Parkersburg.

Map from P2P Feasibility Study (Rails to Trails Conservancy)