Nickel Plate Trail FAQs
What is the Nickel Plate Trail?
The Nickel Plate Trail is a paved walking and bicycling trail on the former Nickel Plate Railroad. Currently, the Fishers portion stretches from 106th Street up to 146th Street. The trail will eventually extend into Indianapolis and Noblesville.
When will the trail be completed?
The Master Plan was completed at the end of March 2019. Construction of the Fishers portion of the trail began in the spring 2020. Paving has now been completed from 106th Street to 146th Street, including the new pedestrian tunnel beneath 116th Street. These paved portions are open for pedestrian and bicycle access.
In spring 2022, the City of Fishers was awarded $4.5 million by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) via the Next Level Trails Grant for the construction of the remaining 1.3 miles of the Nickel Plate Trail from 96th to 106th Street as well as completing connectivity along 106th Street between Hague Road and the recently constructed Nickel Plate Trail. In the coming months, the City will begin designing the additions to the trail, including a pedestrian bridge over 96th Street connecting the trail to Indianapolis. The City is exploring a phased approach that would allow the construction of the Nickel Plate Trail between Hague Road and 106th Street to potentially occur as early as Spring 2023.
How much did the trail cost?
There have been two phases of the trail construction to date. The first phase included master planning and design for the entire trail; trail construction and amenities from North Street to 141st Street and South Street to 106th Street; and the neighborhood buffer program. The cost for this phase was $6,649,436. The second phase included construction of the downtown portion of the trail from North Street to South Street, including the tunnel beneath 116th Street; retaining walls and the northern and southern approach; downtown trail amenities; security; and finishes. This phase was estimated at $13.75 million but was completed under budget at $13,102,235.To date, both phases of the Trail were achieved for a total of $19,751,671.
The City's investment in the Nickel Plate Trail not only gives residents a new way to explore and engage their community, but has also supported the creation of 750 new jobs at an average starting salary of $85,000, and total $210,000,000 worth of investment into our community.
I live along the trail and am concerned about privacy. What can the City do to help?
For those who live in a single-family home on property directly adjacent to the trail (i.e. your property line touches the trail right of way), the City offers a grant program that may go toward installing screening, privacy or buffering through landscaping or fencing on the resident’s private property, up to $2,000 per private property. Additionally, property owners may opt-in to a direct trail connection via their property. Property owners can apply for the grant program and to establish a trail connection here.
Will having a new public amenity like this impact property values?
Studies have shown that transformational projects like this can increase property values.
I’m a property owner along the trail and I’d like to potentially connect to the trail from my property. What’s the process for this?
The City has coordinated with Duke Energy, which has an easement over the trail area, to develop a permitting process that allows adjacent properties to connect directly to the trail. The trail connection application is now open for properties along the paved portions of the trail from 106th Street to 146th Street. For properties adjacent to unpaved portions of the trail between 106th Street and 96th Street, a trail connection will be available once paving occurs.
Trail connections are $200 and include a crushed stone trail or stairs from the property line to the trail, a drainage culvert (if needed), and complimentary labor from the Fishers Department of Public Works. Trail connections are not guaranteed and are subject to an onsite review to ensure they can be done safely and sustainably. Residents are not permitted to establish their own trail connections outside of this permitting process. Learn more here.
Did the City look into keeping the railroad track alongside the trail?
Yes, the City of Fishers commissioned a study of the corridor to assess the feasibility of this option. The study can be found here. In summary, this option was feasible with the acquisition of a portion of or complete elimination of over 100 properties and buildings along the trail. Even without the cost associated with building the trail, this option would have added an additional $20.5 million in property impacts, pedestrian bridges, trail embankments, retaining walls, and the required 6’ security fencing between the trail and the track.
What ever happened to the Nickel Plate Express?
It now operates out of Noblesville and runs year-round. You can find more about the excursion train here.