Cobb County will soon be extending the Silver Comet Trail to the Chattahoochee River, marking the completion of the trail in the county.
Once connected to the river, it will connect with a series of trails in the city of Atlanta that will also eventually connect to the BeltLine, according to Drew Raessler, director of the Cobb County Department of Transportation.
The Board of Commissioners approved $7.8 million in funding last week for a one-mile extension of the trail from Plant Atkinson Road to the river in Smyrna. The PATH Foundation aims to complete 2.3 miles of the trail from the East-West Connector — where the trail currently ends — to Plant Atkinson Road, and it’s still working to acquire railroad land from CSX Railroad for the project.
The county’s project, which begins construction in June, also includes repaving Atlanta Road, rehabilitating the bridge there and improving two traffic signals in the area.
The Silver Comet Trail runs through Cobb, Paulding and Polk counties and connects to the Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama, totaling 94.5 miles. With Cobb County and the PATH Foundation’s portions of the trail soon underway, the eventual connection to the Atlanta Beltline will take place in the city of Atlanta, said county spokesman Ross Cavitt.
This project is one of many trail projects in the works in Cobb County as its Department of Transportation “plans to expand its network of trails to encourage outdoor exploration and connect local communities to the National Trail System,” the county’s news release says.
Once connected to the Beltline, the Silver Comet Trail is poised to become part of the longest continuous paved trail in the U.S.
The James M. Cox Foundation donated $6 million in 2019 to the PATH Foundation to support that effort. The foundation belongs to the same family that owns Cox Enterprises, the parent company of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Advocates have been pushing for the trail to connect to the Beltline for years, and Raessler said this project represents “another step towards that ultimate goal.”