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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indy begins work next week on widening the Monon Trail.

By year’s end, the southern half of the trail, from 10th Street downtown to the southern edge of Broad Ripple at 56th Street, will be 14 feet wide. Three million people a year use the trail, and public works director Dan Parker says at peak times, the current 10 feet isn’t enough, especially in heavily traveled areas like Broad Ripple.

Indy will spend one-point-six-million dollars to widen the trail. Nearly half of that comes from the costs involved in acquiring the land. The trail was built on the old Monon Railroad railbed, and Parker says an Indiana Supreme Court ruling meant the city didn’t have the easements it thought it had.

Parker says the city eventually plans to widen the trail all the way to the border with Carmel, where it continues through Westfield all the way to Sheridan. But while much of the southern half of the trail turned out to belong to the Indiana State Fair, he says untangling ownership through a maze of title searches and arcane railroad law is a long and expensive effort, and will be even more so on the northern half of the project.

Three segments of the trail between 16th Street and Fall Creek Parkway will close for construction starting Monday. Parker says the work will be broken into eight phases over the course of the year, with the final phase south of 16th being completed in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Transportation’s north split project on I-65 and 70.