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Hudson Valley Rail Trail phase 2


  When the Walkway opened to the public October 3 last year,there was a renewed interest for the original concept of this RT to extend eastward to meet with the Walkway.When the original section of the RT opened in 1997,it was thought construction on the Walkway would begin soon after.However the Walkway went into an extended period of ‘gestation’ over the next 10 years. With the setting sun over the Walkway at the very end of 2009,formal plans were drawn,and federal ‘stimulus’ money was applied for,to extend the rail trail eastward to meet with the west end of the WOTH.There was still snow on the Catskill mountains when I went for my first ride west across the Walkway in March of this year.As I rode along Haviland road in Highland,I heard the noise of heavy machinery coming from the woods where the old Maybrook Line RR ROW is. And so it was,work on extending the rail trail had begun. This early start came as a surprise to myself,and others as well.Indeed,when the oficial ‘ground breaking’ ceremony came several months latter,construction of this new section (phase2) was well underway.The race was now on to complete construction in time for the Walkway’s 1 year aniversary the first weekend of October.

 phase 2 – grand opening

  A few weeks before the ‘big day’,I had been to Highland to check on the phase 2 construction progress.The trail and new parking lot at Commercial Ave. had just been paved.The asphalt was still warm.The east end was still barricaded as it had been since 2009.The ‘big day’ had arrived.At the west end of the Walkway the barricade was gone and now there was a continuous ribbon of asphalt extending 3.6 miles westward.There was a sign denoting the eastern terminus and the start of the RT jurisdiction,and end of the WOTH jurisdiction.There were people walking and riding bicycles on the trail.I could see beyond the sign, a crowd forming at the caboose.I had thought the ceremonies would be taking place in the new parking lot on Haviland Rd. and the ceremonial ribbon would be set up at the RT entrance from the parking lot.I had found out,when I had gotten to the caboose, why the ceremonies were taking place on the actual trail,the new parking lot had yet to be completed and was still a yet-to-be paved dirt lot.(as of 10-11-10 the parking lot had yet to be completed K.E.N.) After the speaches by the politicians and, other dignitaries,it had seemed I had missed the actual ribbon cutting.I had begun to ride the trail when Ray Constantino at the podium said something like “ohh yea.. we forgot the ribbon” I suddenly found myself in the middle of the ribbon cutting mele.I was able to move to one side to allow the ceremony to proceed.Once the ribbon was cut I was able to finaly ride the new section of the trail.One of the surprises was at the Mile Hill road underpass tunnel (at the trail level it is a tunnel) I had discovered that the faux stone block portals were now gray colored.When the forms were removed for the retaining walls/portals, the concrete was white,and so the gray color was applied after.However,on the Dutchess RT phase 3 at Maloney Rd.,in the town of Wappingers, the concrete was aparently pre-tinted when poured and was gray color when the forms were removed.As the old (phase 1) section was still split in two at the New Paltz Rd. – CR12 – underpass (like the above Mile Hill Rd.) for replacement of the ‘brunnel’, which has been going on seemingly forever,I will have to wait until next year before I am able to ride the entire trail combined with the Walkway.

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