By Gordon Dritschilo
Organizers are getting ready to build Segment Four of the Creek Path as they scrape together money for Segment Five.
The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously last week to support a Segment Five grant application for additional funding from the state Agency of Transportation Bicycle/Pedestrian Program.
“As we were in preliminary engineering, additional expenses have come up,” project manager Susan Schreibman said. “Until you start engineering, you don’t know what your expenses will be.”
The application materials submitted to the board did not indicate how much more the project needs for the segment, nor were specific numbers mentioned during the presentation to the board.
“There’s about $3 million available in the state,” path organizer Paul Gallo told the board. “We’re not sure what we’ll get out of what we’re asking for.”
The first two segments of the pedestrian path run along East Creek from Earl Street to West Street. Segment Four will run from the Meadow Street Playground to the Dorr Drive Bridge, and Segment Five will continue on to College of St. Joseph. Segment Three, which will connect the two, is being saved for last because significant money needs to be raised for work on a bridge over the creek.
The path could become part of an even greater network. West Rutland officials have envisioned a bicycle and pedestrian path through their town that connects with the Creek Path on one end and the Castleton-Poultney rail trail on the other.
For now, though, organizers are focusing on Segments Four and Five.
Schreibman said they had finished right-of-way work on Segment Four and were waiting for AOT to approve the in-kind donations being used as part of local match for the grants funding construction.
She said they hope work will begin by late summer or early fall, and be done by early spring at the latest.
“We’re months behind where we thought we would be, but that’s the way this project moves — it happens and then it doesn’t,” she said.
Schreibman attributed the additional costs on Segment Five to keeping the trail on the north side of Dorr Drive instead of crossing over to the south side not long after the bridge. She said she does not expect construction of that segment before 2021.