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News Release    

September 11, 2007      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

New Dutchess Rail Trail Clears Huge Hurdle
Trail Approved by State and Federal Officials

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has announced the Dutchess Rail Trail’s Design and Environmental Processing has been approved by both the New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.   

“We now have the sign off from the state and federal officials we’ve needed to move forward.   Now that the design has been approved, we have been able to prepare and submit construction bid documents,” said County Executive Steinhaus.   “This is a huge step toward getting the thousands of eager families out on our planned Rail Trail Park.”

 “It is very exciting to reach this important milestone in the development of our Dutchess Rail Trail.   Our entire design team, led by Gregory Bentley, Director of Engineering, along with Joe Kelley, our Project Leader, have navigated a complicated design process. We will continue pushing an aggressive time schedule so we can open a portion of the trail this year.  This project has tremendous momentum and we are anxious to keep moving forward,” said Steinhaus.  

The Dutchess Rail Trail is a 12 mile multi-use linear county park, the centerpiece of the County Executive Steinhaus’ Comprehensive Parks Expansion Plan.  This highly anticipated new county park will run through the middle of the County along the former Maybrook Rail corridor and including the towns of Poughkeepsie, LaGrange, Wappinger and East Fishkill. 

Due to the complex engineering and environmental challenges of the Dutchess Rail Trail, the project will be constructed in five separate segments, with much of the construction occurring simultaneously. 

It is anticipated construction bid documents will be approved by the state later this month for the first phase, which will run from NYS Route 376 in Hopewell Junction to Lake Walton Road.  Construction for that section is anticipated for this fall.

The remaining four sections, which include significant bridge construction and repair of large culverts, are scheduled to be bid beginning this fall.  The NYS Department of Transportation, who administers all federally funded transportation projects in the state, must approve each contract prior to letting to assure compliance with all federal requirements.  The later phases, whose construction is scheduled into next year, will include:

  • Construction of a new bridge over Titusville Road in the Town of Lagrange.

  • Construction of a new bridge over NYS Route 376 in the Town of East Fishkill.

  • Construction of a new bridge that will span NYS Route 55 and the Wappinger Creek.

  • Construction of a replacement structure over Maloney Road in the Town of Wappinger.

  • Replacement of the existing bridge over the Salt Point Turnpike, NYS Route 115 in the Town of Poughkeepsie by St. Peter’s Cemetery.

Construction cost for the entire project is estimated at just under $12 million.  The NYS Department of Transportation has agreed to fund the entire cost of the bridge over State Route 55, estimated at approximately $3.1M.  The remainder of the project cost is eligible for 80 percent reimbursement from the federal government, therefore minimizing the net cost to the county budget.

Steinhaus said, “This project is truly the result of collaboration and teamwork.   Our design team has worked long and hard to bring us to this critical phase.   We are extremely grateful to the NYS DOT for their partnership with Dutchess County, making the Rail Trail a reality.”

“I also want to thank the Republican Majority in the County Legislature who supported my request for funding the Rail Trail last fall and have been steadfast supporters of not only the trail, but also of my entire Comprehensive Parks Plan.  I do believe the Democrats in the Legislature who twice opposed the funding for the parks plan, including the new Rail Trail, will come to see the value of the Dutchess Rail Trail when thousands of smiling families begin to use the park.”

“Most importantly, I want to thank the more than 500 residents who responded to our public outreach and who participated in the design process.   Their ideas were extremely valuable and are incorporated in the design. We know how much residents are looking forward to seeing the Dutchess Rail Trail constructed and ready for use.   We are working quickly so families can begin to use our newest park.” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.

Trail enthusiasts can stay up-to-date on the progress of the Dutchess Rail Trail and view the Design Report by logging on to the county’s rail trail website.



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