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Rail Trail expansion underway

Three-mile section in New Scotland to open this fall, Albany portion eyed for 2015

Volunteers work on renovations to the bridge over Vly Creek along the Albany County Rail Trail. The work was recently completed as part of an effort to open a new three-mile portion of the Rail Trail.

Volunteers work on renovations to the bridge over Vly Creek along the Albany County Rail Trail. The work was recently completed as part of an effort to open a new three-mile portion of the Rail Trail.

— Enhancements to two bridges along the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail are progressing, and a three-mile section of the trail through New Scotland is expected to open next month.

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Courtesy of Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy

Vly Creek bridge improvements along the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail in Voorheesville have been completed, which is part of an effort to open a new three-mile trail section.

Volunteers have finished improvements to the Vly Creek bridge in Voorheesville, including constructing railings and a new deck to safely span railroad ties. More complex improvements have also begun on another village bridge over Route 155, including installing fencing on each side for pedestrian and vehicle safety.

“We are really fortunate that the bridge was structurally very sound and with the help of a group of skilled volunteers and engineering, we will have an attractive crossing over Vly Creek,” project leader Scott Lewendon said.

Additional trail clearing and mowing will be completed before to the public. The new three-mile portion will be limited to pedestrian usage because of the existing trail surface quality and some unprotected, steep sections. The project will have a total cost of around $21,500 for bridge improvements.

Selkirk-based JAT Construction will install needed fencing along the Route 155 overpass for approximately $17,000. The Albany County Department of Public Works will provide traffic control assistance along the bridge as work progresses.

“The recent progress made to this point on the Rail Trail affirms that partnerships work,” Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said in a statement. “I want to commend the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy for working with the county on this vital recreational project and for energizing volunteers to vary out the work needed to be done.”

The county would not allow portions of the trail to open without the bridge improvements. Lewendon, a member of Friends of the Rail Trail Group, petitioned the New Scotland Town Board in mid-September to provide the remaining $4,500 to complete the project. The board awarded the funding, which will be drawn from the town parkland fund. Developers building in the town pay into the account, which is reserved for park improvements.

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