This is the page info about the construction updates affecting the Bike Path for the 2021 construction season.
Background: Essentially there are THREE projects that will be happening this summer through December. Concurrently, at the Waterfront, there is the Rail realignment project managed with VTRANS and DPW combined with the Greenway realignment that is shifting the Path to west side of the new tracks. At the south end of the Greenway, BPRW will be starting Phase 3b of the Path Rehabilitation through Oakledge. Read on below for more details about the closures.
Railway Realignment Project
Expect the section of the path between College and Maple Streets to remain closed. Pedestrian access to the Community Boathouse and all Waterfront businesses WILL REMAIN OPEN all season. Vehicle and parking access may be interrupted at times. We will do all we can to get the word out about disruptions in a timely manner.
- Expect the section of the bike path between College and Maple Streets to remain closed during Phases 1, 2 and 3
- Pedestrian access to all Waterfront businesses will remain open all season
- There will be intermittent disruptions to vehicle and parking access throughout Phases 1, 2 and 3
If you have questions, please contact Natalie Boyle, Public Information Consultant, with questions or concerns, to receive project updates and alerts, and to remain informed of the progress on the project and what to expect.
Greenway Realignment between College and Maple Street
A contractor has been selected for the second phase of the passenger rail/ Greenway Realignment project (College to King Street). A third contract, for the King to Maple street section, is still out to bid until late-April. Once a construction kick-off meeting is held, VTrans will be able to provide an update on the construction schedule. In the interim, we can state that the existing detour from College to King Street will be extended to Maple Street for most of the summer once crews begin mobilizing. Meanwhile, designs are in progress for the realignment of Lavalley Lane as the railyard expands west to accommodate the overnighting train.
Ahead of construction breaking ground, tree removals will occur along the eastern edge of the ECHO parking lot and Perkins Pier. The removals will include potential bat roosting trees before the State’s Guidelines for protecting Northern Long-Eared Bat summer habitat. Six large cottonwoods and two Norway Maple will be removed to allow space for the Greenway to be located on the west side of the relocated railway tracks – a safe alignment that has been a City goal for several years. An ash tree will also be removed along ECHO’s parking lot in alignment with the City’s anticipation of Emerald Ash Borer damaging the tree and making it unsafe. Three trees along the Perkins Pier parcel were safely transplanted to the A_Dog Skatepark ahead of the Greenway construction on the eastern side of the park. In this stretch, the Greenway is located mainly within the rail right-of-way along this part of the corridor and the Greenway’s location was determined by offsets from the rail alignment and other technical requirements.
While the Bike Path is already detoured in this area to Battery Street, pedestrian access to businesses and ECHO on the west side of the rail and Bike Path will be maintained throughout the construction process. Vehicular traffic will see some impact, which will be communicated to the public ahead of time via social media, updates to our Greenway GIS Map and other outreach outlets. We are all looking forward to restoring the Greenway connection north-south at project completion and appreciate everyone’s patience as we navigate a busy return-to-a-normal summer and a major construction project that will enhance this part of the Greenway and City once complete.
Work is also planned for the Path in Oakledge Park between Flynn Ave and Austin Drive.
This is the final section of the rehabilitation project that began in 2013!
Early Prep Work in April
Contract document development is wrapping up as we prepare to bid the rehabilitation of the Greenway in Oakledge Park (Section 3B South) out in April.
Earlier this month, our BPRW team prepared the site for the upcoming construction by selectively removed approximately 15 trees at Oakledge Park in preparation for the project. All of the larger trees, including five large green ash, were taken out in anticipation of eventual decimation by the Emerald ash borer. BPRW’s policy, as a part of the City Arborists’s EAB Response Plan, is to remove ash trees within and near project areas. Green ash are relatively short lived, weak-wooded species and these trees were beginning to show signs of decline. While preservation of healthy ash trees is possible by injecting them with insecticide every two years at a considerable cost, the decision was made to remove them because of their proximity to the lake and the playground. There were also about three medium sized maples that were dead or dying that were removed from the area of bike path construction. Approximately ten smaller trees were removed through the wooded sections of the path adjacent to the tennis courts and in the section between the upper parking lot and Austin Dr. These were deemed potential bat roosting trees that needed to be removed by the State required date of April 15 to avoid negative impacts on the nesting season for long-eared bats. BPRW is committed to replace these trees, or beyond, with a diverse planting of species native to the environment within the park. More information, will be posted here as plans get formulated.
This phase of construction, which will include a pause place at Austin Drive, improved circulation at Flynn Avenue and a realignment of the path near the upper pavilion to make it accessible to everyone, will mean disruptions to usual circulation throughout the park. Once a contractor and resident engineer are under contract, a phasing plan will be developed to minimize disruptions throughout the length of the park; but it will not be business as usual at Oakledge Park this year! BPRW will circulate schedules and detours to the public as soon as they are available. Check our website often for the most up-to-date information. Also stay tuned for news of community members organizing events to coincide with Oakledge’s 50th anniversary this year starting with focused efforts for Green Up Day.