Saturday, March 24, 2018

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Final link in Hudson Valley Rail Trail project unveiled

HIGHLAND – All the rail trails will soon be connected, thanks to several long-awaited projects in the towns of New Paltz and neighboring Lloyd.

Ulster County Executive Michael Hein was joined by local and state officials Friday to announce the start of construction for the final two-mile stretch joining Ulster and Dutchess rail trails networks together.


Hein, second from left, asked people to "dream with me a little bit"

Hudson Valley Rail Trail Phases three and four will extend the existing rail trail by two miles – from Tony Williams Park in the Town of Lloyd to South Street in New Paltz.

The project allows cyclists off-road access to trails directly from Ashokan all the way down to Battery Park in lower Manhattan. Eventually it will reach north to Albany, and then to Canada – by way of the governor’s Empire State Trail initiative, noted Hein.

"I want you to dream with me a little bit,” Hein said. “When we connect that last bit to New Paltz, that 1.6 miles, everything changes; Metro-North will be connected with SUNY New Paltz. Southern Dutchess County will be connected with Kingston."

Andy Beers, director of the Empire State Train project, said "Were going to ride down to the Battery, on the tip of Manhattan, and look out over the Statue of Liberty."

The final two phases help extend the existing Hudson Valley Rail Trail westward towards New Paltz and fill an existing gap in the regional rail trail system slated to become the Empire State Trail by 2021.

This rail trail system will then become part of the future Empire State Trail, a 750-mile interconnected rail trail system launched by the governor a year ago that is slated for completion by 2021, creating an interconnected, multi-county rail trail system of more than 30 miles connected by the Walkway Over the Hudson.

Both projects received significant federal transportation funding, which covered 80 percent of the more than $4 million trail costs.

The phase three project also received grant funding through Scenic Hudson, and both projects were awarded grants through Assemblyman Frank Skartados, helping to reduce the local share of the project. The two projects will be finished by late fall of 2018.

 


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