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      Crews work on paving Iron Ore Heritage Trail

      The Marquette side of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail

      Walkers, bikers and runners will soon find new pavement on the Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Marquette County.

      This spring, a 12-mile stretch of the trail from Marquette to Negaunee is the focus of crews from Smith Paving. They're laying down asphalt on three miles of that section, with the rest being covered in crushed granite. The paved section includes the Soo Line railroad bridge over US-41 in Marquette and an area near Rail Street in Negaunee.

      The engineering and construction work for this portion of the trail has a $2 million price tag, with the majority of funds coming from the Michigan Department of Transportation and a DNR Trust Fund. The late spring has had an impact on the construction.

      "Very wet and late, which is good for us because we saw some problem areas that needed to be fixed before the trail went down, rather than after," said Carol Fulsher of the Iron Ore Heritage Rec. Authority. "Our project, which was slated to be finished by July 1, will probably be delayed by two weeks."

      Plans for next spring include working on the trail to the west of Ishpeming. When completed, the 48-mile trail will run from Chocolay Township to Republic Township.