Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus broke ground today with the President of Metro-North Railroad, Peter Cannito to construct Phase III of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail (HVRT) connecting its existing Mechanic Street Trailhead 2.6 miles to the Metro-North Wassiac Train Station.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “The project will not only stretch the developed portion of the HVRT to over 10 miles, it will also provide a vital link between this regional recreational resource and the Metropolitan area, through the MTA train system.”
The contract, awarded to A. Colarusso & Son, Inc. for the construction for the Harlem Valley Rail Trail’s extension is for the sum of $633,973, nearly one-third of a million dollars less than the county’s initial cost estimate of $950,000 to complete the extension. The County Executive noted the collaborative efforts of all in attendance from local clubs to local government to the state and federal government’s partnering made the project a success.
On January 15, 2004, Dutchess County received Authorization to Proceed with the HVRT Wassaic Extension Project from NYSDOT, culminating a lengthy review process necessitated by the use of two federal transportation grants to fund 80% of the cost of the project. Since that time the Dutchess County Department of Public Works completed the bid process and notification ultimately awarding the project to Colarusso & Son, after receiving permission from the MTA on May 24th. Weather permitting, the construction period is expected to be complete this fall.
"Metro-North is pleased to support the completion of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. It is sure to attract cyclists from all over," said Metro-North President Peter A. Cannito. "Wassaic won't be the end of the line but the beginning of the rail trail and Metro-North will happily carry them here to Dutchess County."
The County Executive added, “Since the trail arrived in Millerton, in June of 2000, the HVRT has already experienced a dramatic increase in usage and has truly become a recreational resource of regional importance, and an economic resource on which the surrounding communities can build.”
“The development of the third phase of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, linking the metropolitan area, through Metro-North, allows Dutchess County to show off the incredible beauty of the Harlem Valley to visitors far and wide, establishing the trail as a world-class destination point,” continued Steinhaus, “The trail highlights the natural beauty of the Harlem Valley to these visitors which will ensure their return. This link is key to the trail’s ability to produce economic spin-offs for the surrounding communities and its significance cannot be underestimated.”
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