PLAINVILLE - The steering committee for the closure of the Plainville gap in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail decided on a preferred route at Tuesday’s meeting at Plainville Public Library.
After receiving feedback on proposed routes at a May 22 meeting, the committee weighed each route in accordance with resident feedback. Ultimately, the committee unanimously approved “Alignment C” as the route through Plainville and “Alignment E” to connect the trail in Plainville to New Britain’s CTfastrak bus station.
Alignment C begins on the north side of Northwest Drive and travels south for 4.74 miles. It ranges from 10 to 12 feet wide and is 100 percent off-road. It crosses very few driveways and has minimal environmental impacts. It was the second-lowest costing plan out of all of the proposed alignments and fit the areas that residents previously identified as important. These factors considered off-road, safety, connectivity, security, property and environmental impact and cost.
Alignment E begins on town line road and is 4.49 miles long and rages from 10 to 12 feet wide. It is 92 percent off-road and 72 percent on Department of Transportation-owned property.
“C, for me, is the best alignment,” said Plainville Director of Planning and Economic Development Mark Devoe. “It is my choice because it is not the most expensive bill and does not require a lot of heavy infrastructure with long-term, repetitive maintenance. This group has worked from Day 1 to define what is the best route and I think this is the clear choice.”
The next step for the project will be to meet with the Department of Transportation and to plan public workshops, which Tim Malone of the Capitol Region Council of Governments said would likely be held in late summer, after Labor Day.
“I think that it is fantastic that the DOT is invested in this project,” said Mark Jewell, of the consulting team VHB. “They are poised to do the project now. There are 21 East Coast Greenway projects in progress costing about $37 million, so we will definitely have the funding.”
Theresa Carr, also of VHB, said that there will be a couple months of space between the public workshops and the actual implementation of the plan to refine the alignment as needed.
For more information, including maps of the proposed route, visit gapclosurestudy.com.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.