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Dutchess Rail Trail

04-21-11 phase 2

When I had checked the DC trails website for any updates,I had discovered that the old RR signal at Grand Ave.,in the town of Poughkeepsie,had been restored.It had been removed for restoration during the summer of last year and was put back in place in late November fully restored.I rode to the Grand Ave. crossing and access for a first hand look.As I had discovered,this was no mere cosmetic restoration,but a full and complete restoration to operational status, (sort of) with new lights,lenses and wiring.There was a new electric power meter nearby to provide power to the new lights which are on all the time.This is a must see for the RR enthusiast.

04-17-11 phase 3 construction

At the time of my last DRT report,in September of last year,(see blog archive) the Dutchess County trails site had clearly stated that work on phase 3 would be complete by the end of the year.However,from what I had seen of the construction progress,or more precisely the lack thereof,it was clear that work would not
 be complete at the end of the year.I had returned for,what was to be,the last check of phase 3 construction in late October.I did not do a blog post report at the time.There was only a bit more progress from my previous check in September.I had checked the DC trails site recently and had discovered that all of the new overpass steel truss bridges were in place.Also the website now states that work would be completed in late Spring of this year.Obviously,quite a bit progress had been made over the winter in spite of the back-to-back (to back) snowstorms in the early part of Winter 2011.

When I arrived at the old ped Xng and small lot at CR49 behind Page Lumber in the town of Poughkeepsie, (which has been at this location since the county got the federal funding for the trail back in 1998) I had seen a new wood rail fence going along an as-yet-paved side trail.I rode up the dirt side trail,made soft by the recent rain,to the main trail/ROW.To my surprise there was a full width ribbon of asphalt extending southward.There was also a soft dirt-gravel path of about 3-4 foot wide on the right side.Unlike phase 1,where the full width of the trail was split longitudinally with one half paved and the other half not,ostensibly for Equestrian use.As I rode southward on this 1.8 mile section of new pavement,the aroma of new asphalt and freshly cut wood wafted through the air. Ahhh …the smell of a new rail trail.I had noted in several spots a large square had been cut/milled into the pavement.I am not sure what this is about.On a near future ride,when phase 3 is more complete,I will see.At the end of this section of paved trail was the still unpaved approach UP to the new overpass and steel truss bridge over Titusville Rd. – CR49.I was somewhat surprised as to the realatively short approach to the bridge.This made for a respecfull 10% grade (this is aproximate at this time – once paved I will be able to get a more acurate reading with my Sky-Mounti inclinometer) This puts the overpass grade,albeit at the low end,into my “Hills From Hell” category.Only in NY would there be “Hills From Hell” on a rail-trail! However,this will act as a ‘speed bump’ for the ‘turbo jocks’ and ‘divas’.The new steel truss bridges have an Equestrian friendly wood deck.The bridges are manufactured by Echo Bridge Inc. of Elmira, NY.At 2.1 miles,on the other side of the bridge,another section of pavement began.I leaned my bike against a construction tractor that was parked on the side.I walked down a new yet-to-be paved side trail/access
 road to take some pictures of the bridge from the county road.

town of LaGrange at CR49 Titusville Rd. – the new above grade overpass and 120 ft. steel truss bridge

town of Wappingers Maloney Rd. – the new 60 ft. steel truss bridge

I continued south,for a mile,on the next section of paved trail to the Maloney Rd. overpass.This overpass maintains the orriginal ROW grade and so there is no HFH. I was not alone on the trail. In spite of the fact the new section has yet to officialy open,is closed to the public, and is under construction,(and the blustery November-like weather) there were a surprising number of people on the trail.The tire tracks and foot prints in the soft unpaved sections can atest to this.I had comented to someone that from what I had seen so far,the trail should be open in June.She had indicated the new section would be open in late May.Of course late May is almost June.Then I had realized that the end of May would be Memorial Day.I then said to her “maybe Memorial Day”. This certainly would be an excelent time for the grand opening of this new section of the rail trail and could be part of the weekend festivities in Hopewell Jct. In addition to the RT phase 3 construction work,the depot restoration people,led by Bernie Rudberg,have been busy getting the old depot ready in time for the official opening of phase 3,and the grand opening to the public of the restored depot.I continued south on the newly paved trail to the Diddel Rd. crossing.The pavement ended just before the crossing.This was originaly an above grade crossing like Maloney Rd. but for some reason it was decided not to maintain the grade as was and put in a new bridge over Diddel Rd.And so at this crossing there is an inverse of the crossing at Titusville road,one goes down a HFH to the road,then back up a HFH to the trail/ROW.I rode down then up on the unpaved ROW to the next section of pavement just after the crossing. I continued south for a mile to the new Sprout Creek bridge.There was a tree down spanning the entire width of the trail just before the bridge.I had to lift my bike and climb over the tree.The Sprout Creek bridge is a wood with steel and concrete support type of span.Near the south end of the bridge is a wider observation section.There were 2 posts protruding up from the railing presumably for a future
 interpretive sign.With the recent rains,the creek was more like a river.There are side trails going down to the creek on either side.The 2006 planning map for East Fishkill indicates that there might be a future trail along this creek.While I was taking pictures of the new bridge,a group of mature cyclists crossed the bridge.The at-grade SR 376 crossing had been changed to an above grade overpass with a new 120′ truss bridge,like Titusville Rd.,as well.

town of East Fishkill at SR 376 – the new above grade overpass and 120 ft. steel truss bridge

The bridge was blocked and so I had to ride out a side trail to the highway.I continued south on a side road along the ROW to the intersection with Walton Lake Rd.A short distance to my right was the access to the north end of phase 1, the first section to be opened in 2007.I had seen several people with bicycles next to a car at the intersection.I called out to the lady,”did I just see you on Sprout Creek bridge” She had replied “no – the (trail) parking lot is closed”.After I had thought about this statement a bit I was puzzeled.The DC trails website clearly states that this parking lot would be closed on weekdays.As this was a Sunday,the wekend,I was understandibly confused as was the lady who had told me the parking lot was closed.At the access to the RT was an orange sign warning of construction vehicle activity,for a new housing development,near the south end of this section.It was a bit unclear as to wether the construction activity the sign refered to was for the Hopewell Glen development,or part of the phase 3 trail construction.I had seen this construction last year when I had ridden this section of the RT and a bit beyond to the old depot.The new road for this development came right up to the rail trail.I don’t know if there will be access to the trail from this development.I did not ride this section on this day.I turned around and rode back the same way I had come.

construction near the south end of phase 1 – July,2010

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