#9 Trolley Line Trail in Catonsville partially closed for repair for five months

After riding his bike for several miles in Howard County, Craig Close, 75, crossed the Patapsco River at Ellicott City to return to his home on Benway Court in Oella early last week.

Normally, Close said, he’d be able to ride up the #9 Trolley Line Trail, a boardwalk path that runs from Frederick Road near Ellicott City to Edmondson Avenue, behind Westchester Elementary School. There’s a side path that connects the #9 Trolley Trail to Benway Court, where he’s lived for 34 years.

But that day in late October, Close discovered part of the boardwalk was fenced off because it’s being worked on by the county — a discovery that caught him off guard because he had not seen an announcement about the closing from local officials, Close said.

Instead of his typical path, Close said he had to take a roundabout detour home that took him longer.

“It’s disruptive. [The work] was going to happen anyway, I just would have liked to have notice,” Close said.

About 600 feet of the 1.5 mile trail was fenced off in late September, said Ellen Kobler, a spokeswoman for Baltimore County. The trail was damaged after heavy rains in August “that caused further damage after the Memorial Day weekend flooding,” Kobler wrote in an email.

Baltimore County is currently working to design the replacement section of boardwalk. That work should be done by late November or early December. Kobler said. The county estimates construction work will take about five months, weather-permitting.

Because design work is not yet completed, Kobler could not provide a full project description or a cost estimate.

The #9 Trolley Line connected Ellicott City and Catonsville in 1899 and operated in the community for about 55 years, according to Catonsville Rails to Trails, a nonprofit organization that transforms abandoned rail lines in the Catonsville area into hiking and biking paths.

The #9 Trolley Line was converted to a hiking/biking path in 1991 as part of an Eagle Scout project, according to Catonsville Rails to Trails. A representative from the organization was not immediately available for comment.

For Close, the trail being closed is an annoyance. He said he probably makes it out to use the trail every other week. Close, who retired in 2007, said he’s been trying to ride longer distances instead of just tooling around Catonsville or Baltimore County.

“I’m caught now, I can’t go out into Howard County where I can actually ride,” Close said.

cboteler@baltsun.com

twitter.com/codyboteler

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