As work continues to prepare a much-anticipated section of the Cross Vermont Trail east of Gallison Hill Road, Greg Western has been amazed at the growing number of cyclists and walkers using the Power Plant Road to access the new bridge across the Winooski River. As executive director of Cross Vermont Trail, he has been working on fixing a potential parking problem as people access the still-developing section of trail.
Because the Power Plant Road and the large turn-around area adjacent to the plant must be accessible to heavy equipment at all times, public parking is prohibited along the road and near the plant. “Don’t just park anywhere,” Western said. “The bridge is safe and open, but the trail will still be under construction for the rest of the year.”
The solution has been to designate a new parking lot on land owned by the city of Montpelier, located just before the power plant gate. “We’ve graded a short spur road to an open area and defined the parking lot with some boulders,” Western said.
Signs are going up to make parking restrictions and the new trail options clear to drivers and others visiting the area. Western also notes that construction will continue on both the trail that will parallel the Power Plant Road and the additional trails up the hillside to provide access to U-32 High School and its existing trail system and fields.
Riders can also access the new bridge from the north, along Route 2, at the site of a new parking area that accommodates several cars, Western noted.
While initial work with heavy equipment on the trails along and above the Power Plant Road will continue into June, Cross Vermont Trail will be recruiting volunteers for hand work and bridge construction Saturday mornings for several weeks this summer.
“Heavy equipment can define the trail, but finishing it requires a human touch,” Western said. Interested volunteers will find a detailed description of the tasks, what to wear, and what volunteers can expect to learn at crossvermont.org/about_us/contact_us.php
These new trails are funded in part by a $213,000 grant from the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative, as announced by Gov. Phil Scott in March. The grant aims to strengthen “downtown connection to existing outdoor recreation assets through the construction of two connector trails and design of an urban Whitewater Park. The Montpelier Youth Conservation Corps will employ young people of all backgrounds to build the connector trails,” the announcement said.
New Bridge Ribbon Cutting, Saturday, June 4, 2:00 p.m.
Although the Winooski bridge opened this spring, the official ribbon cutting to celebrate the bridge happens Saturday, June 4, at the bridge.
Those attending will find parking in the Civic Center lot across Gallison Hill Road from the Power Plant Road intersection. Limited parking at the site can be arranged for those unable to walk or bike to the bridge site.