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Published: Friday, 4/22/2005

New route follows shoreline from Pennsylvania to Toledo

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A marked route near Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline will become the state's second-longest Scenic Byway today when Gov. Bob Taft dedicates it during a ceremony in Ashtabula.

The Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Scenic Byway will follow 235 miles of state, county, and local roadways from the Pennsylvania border near Conneaut to the Michigan border on Summit Street in Washington Township.

It also will have a spur loop starting at the junction of Galena Street and Greenbelt Parkway in Toledo that will pass through the Oak Openings region and connect with the Maumee River Scenic Byway in Waterville.

Lindsay Mendicino, an Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman, said the loop's designation will boost tourism in the area by creating a trail visitors can follow that will link a vast array of sites along the lakefront, ranging from lighthouses and parks to museums, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Cedar Point.

"There are attractions for almost every type of person," Ms. Mendicino said.

The route primarily follows State Rt. 2 and U.S. 6, but in some areas it takes other routes or local roads to remain close to the water. In that regard, Ms. Mendicino said, it hugs the shoreline much more tightly than does the existing Lake Erie Circle Tour route.

From the Michigan line, the western end of the byway follows Summit to Galena, then enters I-280 at Greenbelt - access that actually won't be available until early next year when the new Veterans' Glass City Skyway bridge opens. After crossing the Maumee River, it follows Front Street, Millard Avenue, and Otter Creek Road to reach the edge of Maumee Bay along Bayshore Road.

It then cuts south on Wynn Road to Cedar Point Road, which it follows to pass by Maumee Bay State Park before using North Curtice Road to reach Route 2. The trail stays on Route 2 until it reaches the western fringe of Port Clinton, where it then uses Lakeshore Drive and other local roads to pass through the city, loop through Catawba Island, and pass around the Marblehead Peninsula before crossing Sandusky Bay on the Edison Bridge.

More local roads are involved in its passage through the Sandusky area before U.S. 6 is joined on that city's east side.

The Oak Openings Trail spur loop was included because that region is "part of the lake's geologic ancestry," Ms. Mendicino said. Its primary roads are Cherry Street, Central Avenue, Berkey-Southern Road, Waterville-Swanton Road, and the Anthony Wayne Trail.

Brochures explaining the route and listing attractions along it are to be published and made available at tourism information centers throughout the region, Ms. Mendicino said, and detailed information already has been posted on the www.ohiobyways.com Web site.

Ohio has 20 other byways, most of them scenic, but a few have other designations like "heritage corridor" or "historic byway." The longest, 452 miles, follows the Ohio bank of the Ohio River.



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