"Parisi: Construction of Much Anticipated North Mendota Trail Expansion is Set to Begin"

February 05, 2020
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
County Executive

New Phase will Span from Woodland Drive to Governor Nelson State Park

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi joined local leaders in the Town of Westport to announce construction of a significant segment of the much anticipated North Mendota bicycle and pedestrian trail. This phase of the project will cost Dane County approximately $1.2 million, allowing the trail to run from Woodland Drive to Governor Nelson State Park.

“Dane County is proud to have a vast network of trails, and we are excited for the possibilities the North Mendota Trail will bring for residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Progress on the trail wouldn’t be possible without the support of our community, along with critical private and public partnerships. We look forward to improving safety and enhancing Dane County’s outdoor offerings with this newest stretch of corridor.”

This phase of the expansion will include bicycle pedestrian crosswalk improvements at Woodland Drive to enhance safety and provide access to a continuous boardwalk that is over a quarter mile long along the south side of County Highway M.  The pathway will also include a new clear span bridge over Six Mile Creek before connecting into North Shore Bay Drive.

Once all phases are complete, the North Mendota Trail will link several communities in Dane County – the Town of Westport, the Village of Waunakee and the City of Middleton – as well as recreation destinations in those communities, including Schumacher Farm County Park, Governor Nelson State Park, Mendota County Park, and the Pheasant Branch Conservancy. It will also help increase cyclist and motorist safety in the rapidly developing corridor.

The North Mendota Trail is the result of partnerships between Dane County, the communities participating in the trail’s development, and private landowners. Progress on the trail has been steadily moving forward. Over the past few years, Dane County and the Town of Westport have acquired land and easements to help make the highly desired trail become a reality.

Parisi’s 2018 budget included $750,000 to kick-start construction of other trail segments from County Highway M at Woodland Drive to the south and west, toward Governor Nelson State Park.  An additional $300,000 was added in the 2020 budget based on more detailed construction cost estimates.  Budgeted funds from 2020, 2019 and 2014 comprise the funding awarded to Westport for construction.

In 2016, Dane County grant funding through the County’s “PARC and Ride” program supported work done by the Town of Westport to develop a segment of the trail along Woodland Drive from Mary Lake Road to County Highway M.  The County also worked to secure easements and construction of trail segments along CTH M from an existing underpass near Oncken Road to the current terminus near the North Mendota Prairie Unit Wildlife Area

Including the $1.2 million award to the Town of Westport, Dane County has invested a total of $1,876,200 in acquisition, planning, design and construction of the trail to date. The Town of Westport’s willingness to take the lead on project planning and management for a regionally significant trail that meets county trail standards allowed trail development to occur relatively quickly. 

A resolution to authorize a grant contract of $1.2 million to the Town of Westport for trail construction will be introduced to the Dane County Board. The Town of Westport has also received a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources grant of approximately $245,000 for the project.