New Paltz residents who frequent the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail are in for a change in schedule due to an impending project that will interrupt their usual route.
Starting Nov. 13, the Rail Trail just south of Water Street will be closed for approximately one month. The closure comes as a direct result to a new construction project that was greenlit over a year ago, when the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) awarded nearly $400,000 in Hudson River Estuary grants, the Village of New Paltz receiving $246,365 of that lump sum.
The news came to the Village when the DEC published a bulletin on Jan. 27, 2016. Over a year later, the Village has designated this grant to the replacement of the culvert system and plans to commence construction.
The grants, provided by the NYS Natural Resource Damages Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grant Program and the Environmental Protection Fund, allow for the project to improve intermittent stream flow and movement of fish and wildlife by replacing the deteriorated culvert system with adequately-sized drainage structures at a road and the Rail Trail crossing adjacent to the Wallkill River.
The new system is also intended by the DEC to improve the flow of floodwater, and maintain habitat connections for eel and other Species of Greatest Conservation Need such as the wood turtle.
The awards are a product of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to prioritize the creation of resilient communities in New York State. “These grants provided through the Hudson River Estuary Program are helping to make his vision a reality,” said DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos in a bulletin. “This funding enables local partners to join with the state in advancing projects that improve the Hudson River, sustain economically important fisheries, and connect New Yorkers to this incredible resource.”
The construction contract was awarded to Rohrer’s Construction.
Village of New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers explained that the project will be a two part disruption.
“The work that needs to be done on Water Street is not nearly as complicated at the Rail Trail segment,” he said. “The Rail Trail project will actually take place underneath it and will take at least a month to complete, whereas Water Street won’t take nearly as long.”