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Shared-use Path Links Cross VT Trail

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The new shared-use recreation path along the Winooski River in Montpelier. Photo by J. Gregory Gerdel
The new shared-use recreation path along the Winooski River in Montpelier. Photo by J. Gregory Gerdel

The completion of Montpelier’s shared use recreation path marks a milestone in the longtime effort to connect a system of trails from Lake Champlain to the Connecticut River.

The new construction connects Montpelier’s bike path with the Gallison Hill area and sets the stage for a bridge to be built across the Winooski River and an off-road path to East Montpelier, further advancing the goal of a Cross Vermont Trail.

The Montpelier section will be celebrated at 3:15 pm Friday afternoon, November 8, with a formal ribbon-cutting, a public bike ride and walk along the riverbank path, and a reception at Caledonia Spirits.

It will also be an occasion to practice pronunciation of the path’s official name: Siboinebi (pronounced see-bo-WEE-neh-bee), which means “River Water” in Abenaki.

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City Project Manager Tom McArdle said that the $6.5 million path was funded through a combination of federal (81.08 percent), state (8.92 percent), and local funds (10 percent). The final cost for the path included design, updates to the design, purchase of rights-of-way, and the actual construction of the project from Pioneer Street to the intersection of Power Dam Road on Gallison Hill Road, just across from the Central Vermont Civic Center.

Winter use of the path is still under discussion, McArdle said. Because it is more a recreational facility than a route for regular commuter access, clearing snow will be a low priority for the city sidewalk plows, he added. One possibility is that the Parks Department might groom the path for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

City Project Management Director Corey Line is the point person for the Transportation Infrastructure Committee, which will be discussing any plans for winter maintenance of the path. (He can be contacted at Montpelier Public Works at 223-9508.)

Greg Western, executive director of the Cross Vermont Trail Association, reports that the next, eastbound section of the trail will “keep the momentum going and extend the bike path up to U-32 and across East Montpelier, including reopening the old railroad bed with a new 200-foot bridge over the Winooski River.” He expects work on that section could be underway next year.

November 8 Ceremony

• Cross Vermont Trail Association representatives will lead two waves (2:15 pm and 2:30 pm) of bike rides from the Caledonia Spirits parking lot to the site of the forthcoming Winooski bridge construction (6 miles, roundtrip). Walkers can also park at the Civic Center and walk the 2-mile round-trip down Power Dam Road (future Cross Vermont Trail route) to the bridge site and back to their cars.

• A pre-ribbon-cutting event will be held at 2:45 pm at Caledonia Spirits. Food and drink will be available for purchase from Kismet and live music will entertain returning riders and early arrivers.

• The ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 3:15 pm at Caledonia Spirits. All are encouraged to gather back at the distillery for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and the official naming of the path.