Area hikers and bikers will be asked to steer clear of the Hoodlebug Trail north and south of Homer City over the next three weeks while contractors perform the first major surface improvement project since the trail opened 20 years ago.
Crews from Quaker Sales Corporation will move on site Monday to begin a seal-coating project on a 7-mile stretch of trail between Divine Destiny Church at the Old Route 119 access point in White Township south to Lee Bottom Road, at an access point near the jug handle for traffic on Route 119 to reach Josephine, in Burrell Township.
Ed Patterson, executive director of Indiana County Parks and Trails, said the work should be completed in about three weeks.
The trail will be unrestricted during evenings and weekends, but Patterson said trail enthusiasts are requested to stay off the trail during daytime hours.
“Our contractors have asked people not to go into the work areas while they are working there,” Patterson said.
COVID-19 safety standards — masking and social distancing — will be in place during the project.
Workers will leave the trail with a coating of fine gravel, less coarse than those applied in so-called “tar-and-chip” projects on rural roads. The county board of commissioners awarded a contract to Quaker Sales for the project at a cost of $242,000 in June. The project will be completed far below the $277,000 budget, Patterson said.
The Hoodlebug Trail extends south from the Josephine area, where it crosses under Route 119 and connects to John Saylor Park and the Ghost Town Trail between Josephine and Black Lick. County plans call for a formal extension of the trail through Marshall Heights, under Route 119 and along Mile Hill to the area of Corporate Campus Industrial Park near Route 22.
The trail’s exclusive right of way extends north to Rose Street, then shares some public roads through the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus to a recently improved multi-modal transfer point at Church and South Eighth streets in Indiana.