Bridge work begins, span expected this month
Soon a way will exist to cross the Mettowee River without taking the Church Street Bridge.
As the June opening date approaches, village officials said, all indications show the Rail Trail Bridge will go into place later this month as planned. “I think the excitement will be there when we see the bridge,” Mayor Jay Niles said last week.
“We’re looking for a grand opening on June 5 because that’s National Parks and Trail Day; we’re planning some events,” Niles said. “We want to have some fun events and have a formal thank you and opening; however, I want to see the bridge first.”
Niles said a handful of tasks remained to complete the trail, including providing some fencing for residents who closely border the trail, painting crosswalks on appropriate portions of road as well as the few remaining trail sections.
The plan developed prior to the last bridge delay has workers from Town and County Bridge and Rail completing final site preparations the week of April 12. The bridge was last stalled when the state delayed funding and the Rail Trail bridge construction essentially lost its space in line at the factory producing the structure.
Town and County Bridge and Rail’s Christopher Hart confirmed Friday the company will begin work at the site April 12.
Workers from Town and County already took down several trees in the area of the Rail Trail off Morrison Avenue during the winter to prepare the site for installation of the bridge.
Following final preparation of the site, the company will begin the process of assembling the bridge somewhere in the village and will finish the installation the week of April 19.
With the bridge in place only landscape work on either shore will remain.
It is not yet clear when the span will be open to use by the public.
The bridge will arrive in the village in three sections, which will then linked together to make one large structure.
The 145-foot piece will be rolled out over the edge of the southern bank of the river and stabilized with a crane as it is extended until the point it meets the far bank and can be secured.
As the Rail Trial currently sits, it is in pieces.
The pieces have been coming together for a number of years, although only a few remain to be straightened out, village officials said.
A small section of trail from Church Street to Morrison Avenue, another piece from East Potter Avenue to Telescope Casual Furniture and the portion from the east side of North Street to the village border near Granville Lanes are all that remain to be completed for users to move uninterrupted from village border to border and beyond.
Town crews finished work on, and recently revisited, the portion of the trail from the town’s border near Telescope to the Vermont border and were planning work on other sections of the trail.
When completed, the Rail Trial will allow users to move from outside of Granville in the north and continue south to Salem and beyond, also branching off into Vermont.
“I think this is a good thing; it’ll be a nice thing to be able to cross off the list so to speak,” village clerk-treasurer Rick Roberts said.
Roberts said with the finishing touches needed on the trail, it looks like it could be considered complete by the fall or early in the winter.
Niles credited the department of public works with making the Rail Trail what it is by doing the vast majority of the work when it was not doing its regular work.
“They really built it; they did the grading and the sure-pack. They did all of the work – literally – very little was contracted out,” Niles said.
“ style=”font-size: 9pt; font-family: “Nimrod MT””>That’s our match … in kind services and they did a tremendous job. It’s a huge credit to them. They really do a lot to make the village a nice place,” Niles said.