Newly renamed State Park Road reopened to all traffic Dec. 20, following the completion of several upgrades to make the road – formerly known as County Road 135 – safer for passenger vehicles, …
Newly renamed State Park Road reopened to all traffic Dec. 20, following the completion of several upgrades to make the road – formerly known as County Road 135 – safer for passenger vehicles, recreational vehicles, walkers and bikers.
This 2-mile road runs from Gulf State Park Headquarters to The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel. It begins at the intersection of Alabama’s Coastal Connection/E. Fort Morgan Road and runs through the park to East Beach Boulevard/Alabama Highway 182.
“We are ecstatic the State Park Road improvements are complete, and our visitors will have a much safer experience on the road leading into our beautiful Gulf State Park,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “We are sorry for the inconvenience it caused this fall, but it was necessary and we’re confident that everyone will be pleased with the results.
“The contractors did a great job meeting the agreed upon deadline and we’re happy with their work.”
Upgrades to the road included a shift of the center line, the installation of a highway rated railing system, and replacement of the bridge decking. New barriers were installed along Lakeview Trail to provide better protection to bikers and walkers.
“We appreciate the patience shown by our visitors during this period of disruption,” said Gary Ellis, Director of Community Relations and Administration for Gulf State Park. “Everyone will enjoy the fruits of the labor of our contractors, who did a great job making these improvements and in meeting the deadline. The work has achieved our goal of making State Park Road much safer for our visitors who spend a lot of time hiking and biking in our park.”
Besides the renaming of State Road 135 to State Park Road, Park Road 2 will now be known as Refuge Road. Previously unnamed roads to the Eagle Cottages and the Gulf State Park cabins will now be known as Bald Eagle Lane and Acorn Lane, respectively.
“I believe that our park guests will be very pleased with the new look along the road,” said Gulf State Park Naturalist Kelly Reetz. “The new railing system still looks rustic but does a great job at separating the bike path from vehicular traffic. The trail is more defined, and in some areas, it travels deeper into the forest giving the guests a more nature-based experience.”
While the road was closed, Gulf State Park maintenance staff were able to complete a prescribed burn with the aid of the Alabama Forestry Commission to reduce the amount of fuel – shrubs, grasses, pine straw – throughout the marsh and around the bald eagles’ nest.
“Now, as hikers and bicyclists use the trail along State Park Road, they will have a better opportunity to see wildlife,” Reetz said, “especially the eagles that are nesting in that area.”
Improvements at the Park’s Woodside Restaurant include a newly added outdoor porch with fire pits and games such as table tennis, cornhole and giant Jenga.