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ARCHER – Bicyclists from the Gainesville and Archer area will soon be able to ride back and forth on their own trail.

The six-mile Archer Road Biking/Walking Trail that will run along Archer Road is set to open by the end of spring or early summer, depending on how the weather affects construction, said Laurie Windham, spokesperson for the project.

“I think it’ll be a good thing,” Windham said. “People we’ve talked to are pretty excited about it.”

The trail will begin in Gainesville on 91st Street and end at the trailhead, or parking area, located across from the Archer water tower.

On March 11, Archer city commissioners had a groundbreaking ceremony at the trailhead.

The trail will be 10 feet wide, making it suitable for biking, walking, rollerblading and skate boarding. However, golf carts, scooters or anything with a motor will not be permitted.

Once construction ends, there will be a one-foot unpaved shoulder on each side of the trail, Windham said.

John Mayberry, Archer assistant city manager, said the Florida Department of Transportation has been planning this for the last year and a half and construction began in January.

“We’re just really excited about it,” he said. “It’s been about a year and a half since the Florida Department of Transportation came and initially presented the project to us, and we’re just really happy to see it come to fruition.”

There will be a small parking lot with five parking spaces and an informational kiosk, or bulletin board at the trailhead.

However, Windham said there would not be any water fountains placed on the trail.

She said the state-funded project will cost more than $1 million. The cost includes the design and construction work.

The Florida Department of Transportation hired V. E. Whitehurst and Sons, Inc., of Williston as a contractor to design and work on the construction of the trail, Windham said.

The trail is part of the Archer Braid, a series of trails that go in and around Alachua County, she said. However, this is the only trail in which the State is involved.

Mayberry said this project would help bring more visitors to Archer.

“We have a large biking population as a county and this is initially going to bring a wave of people out that are going to go and see what the trail has and what it provides and the scenery,” Mayberry said.

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