State and local officials — including Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen, State Representatives Lezlye Zupkus and Liz Linehan, and Cheshire Town Manager Michael Milone — gathered in Cheshire, Connecticut, on April 8, 2016, to celebrate the groundbreaking of a last link in a continuous 23-mile section of the East Coast Greenway between New Haven and Southington.
“It is exciting to get the final link done,” said Commissioner Redeker. “We are committed to be completing the East Coast Greenway through Connecticut, and this beautiful trail in Cheshire is an excellent illustration of that commitment. Projects like these enhance the quality of life in our state and help ensure a strong transportation and economic future.”
“DEEP is pleased to add this final section in Cheshire to Connecticut’s growing and appealing trail system. It marks the end of decades of negotiations and the continuation of our successful partnerships with both the Town of Cheshire and the CT DOT,” said Commissioner Klee. “Importantly, this section will greatly enhance our trail users’ experience, taking them off roads and through a safe, unique natural environment that we hope will inspire stewardship.”
The new section – part of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail from Cornwell Avenue to West Main Street – includes 12-foot wide pavement, a precast concrete boardwalk-style structure to cross over wetlands, and pedestrian bridges to cross Willow Brook at two locations. Fencing and landscaping will also be provided along the trail as needed. Other amenities will include a restroom, bike lockers, park benches, and picnic tables to provide rest areas for trail users. There will also be a 10-space parking lot off Railroad Avenue.
The $4.48 million project is being undertaken by Richards Corporation of Terryville, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018.
“We are once more proud to announce the closing of another gap in the 200-mile spine trail in Connecticut,” said Bruce Donald, Tri-State Coordinator for the East Coast Greenway Alliance. “This last piece in Cheshire is historic as one of the more difficult in the state. It represents years of planning, the tenacity of the Town of Cheshire, tireless volunteer advocacy, and a huge commitment from CT DOT.”
The East Coast Greenway winds some 198 miles through Connecticut. Some 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 Greenway stretches 3,000 miles from Key West, Florida, to Calais, Maine. The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail runs 84 miles, from New Haven to Northampton, Massachusetts.