By Allen Spitzer
A project a lot of folks have been waiting for a long time is finally underway. It’s the building of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail – the conversion of the long defunct St.J and Lamoille County railway corridor into a four season trail for all to use.
Two sections will be worked on this year with a complete finish date of next summer, 2015. Phase 1A from St. Johnsbury to Joes Pond in Danville, about 15 miles and Phase 1B from Tenney Bridge on Rt 15A in Morristown to Cambridge Jct., a distance of over 17 miles. As of right now, work has commenced in the Johnson area. Most of the 17 miles has been bushhogged and some of it is being excavated.
Last week equipment could be seen building up along the Lamoille Rail Trail near Johnson Farm, Garden, Hardware & Rental. Here, a day or so later, workmen can be seen getting started with the work on the right-of-way. Work on the Trail from Route 15A to Cambridge Junction will be occuring all summer. In the end, the trail will be handicapped accesible and topped with staymat. Based on the schedule, the work will primarily continue east to west along the trail. - Martin photo
Work will begin in earnest the week of June 9. The public's cooperation is requested. Signs saying "Trail closed" will be up and can't be missed. Heavy construction equipment is in the area in many different places, so please stay off the trail until it is finished or at least until work in an area is done and the equipment is gone. The workers may not see you if you are on foot and no kind of vehicle can [safely] meet the construction equipment on the trail because it's only 12 feet wide. We don't want anyone to get hurt. Please realize that the trail is "officially closed" to all users.
Yes, the trail will look rough and not too pretty for a while because that's the way construction is, but every place that dirt is being dug up is being seeded and mulched and will soon be green again. The roadbed is 12 feet wide and the finish "usable surface" will be 8 feet wide with two feet of grass on either side. The color will be gray with "sta-mat" being the wear surface and it will be rolled down and smooth, beautiful for walking and biking. We know that in some places this trail will be very close to a home or lawn or maybe your garden, but we will be staying well within the "right of way" when working.
With a little cooperation from Mother Nature and the general public, this will be a painless transition and will be something to enjoy for years to come.