ConnDOT: Farmington Canal Bike & Pedestrian Trail Opens

FOR RELEASE: May 16, 2018
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
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Farmington Canal Bike & Pedestrian Trail Opens

Another ‘Rails to Trails’ Link in the East Coast Greenway Completed

{Farmington Canal Bike & Pedestrian Trail}

                Officials from the Town of Farmington, the Connecticut Department of Transportation, regional bicycle and pedestrian advocates and other officials today formally opened the Farmington Canal Heritage Greenway (FCHG) – a 2.4-mile paved, off-road multi-use trail along a former railroad bed that completes the FCHG in Farmington and another link in the East Coast Greenway through Connecticut.

                The new segment begins at the existing trail located at Red Oak Hill Road and extends south along the old rail bed, ending just south of the Plainville/Farmington town line. The $3.9 million project includes a striking pedestrian bridge over Route 6 (Scott Swamp Road) and a parking lot with an informational kiosk located on Northwest Drive in Plainville.

                “The completion of this trail closes one of the few remaining gaps in the Farmington Canal Heritage Greenway – the off-road bike network connecting New Haven to the state of Massachusetts and beyond,” said CTDOT Commissioner James P. Redeker. “We are committed to completing the entire 198 miles of the East Coast Greenway through Connecticut and I commend our partners for working with us to make this happen.

               “We are so excited to have completed this final segment of the Farmington Canal Heritage Greenway through our town,” said Farmington Town Manager Kathleen Eagen. “This multi-use trail is a valuable amenity to the region and to our residents here in Farmington. We would like to thank the Connecticut Department of Transportation for the opportunity to partner with them on such an important project.”

               “Trails provide an excellent opportunity for recreation, exercise, and carbon-free transportation for all ages and abilities,” said DEEP Commissioner for Environmental Conservation Susan Whalen . “Connecticut has thousands of miles of trails that wind through leafy forests and through quaint town centers, providing an economic boost to the region.  Anytime we can open up another section of trail it adds to the overall quality of life for residents in our state.”

               “I applaud the Town of Farmington and the State Department of Transportation for bringing the trail to the doorstep of Plainville,” stated Plainville Town Manager Robert Lee. “The closing of the gap through our community is a priority of the Town Council and will provide our citizens with easy access to this recreational gem."

               The new pedestrian bridge over Route 6, the centerpiece of this project, was designed by AECOM. James Platosh, the project manager for AECOM, said the modified bow-string truss type structure and simulated granite stone bridge was designed to complement the town's historic character and the previous use of this corridor as a railroad.

               Bruce Donald, Chairman of the CT Greenways Council and Tri-State Coordinator for the East Coast Greenway, stated “This project is a huge gap completed, but more importantly, a huge success for long-term advocates like the Farmington Valley Trails Council and East Coast Greenway, town officials and staff, CTDOT, and the Governor.  Very soon Connecticut will have a completed, world class facility.”

               The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail began first as a canal in central Connecticut for moving farm products in the 1820s, and then a railroad beginning in 1847. The railroad was disbanded in the 1980s and the corridor is now a popular trail.

               The East Coast Greenway (ECG) winds some 198 miles through Connecticut, of which 55 percent – more than 100 miles – has been completed. The state is in the middle of a five-year Statewide Trail Program to fill in the gaps along the Greenway. The entire ECG runs 3,000 miles from Key West, Florida, to Calais, Maine. More on the ECG at The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail runs 84 miles, from New Haven to Northampton, Massachusetts.

               There are also hundreds of miles of local trails crisscrossing Connecticut.