After virus delays, Southington continues design work on final trail section

After virus delays, Southington continues design work on final trail section



reporter photo

SOUTHINGTON — After delays caused by the pandemic, town officials said they’re continuing with plans to design the last portion of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail from Lazy Lane to the Plainville town line.

Jim Grappone, assistant town engineer, said the trail’s expected path takes it through wetlands at five different points, requiring both local approval and permission from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Southington engineers have been working with the state Department of Transportation, which was short-staffed earlier this year due the virus. That slowed the state’s approval process for Southington’s trail design, Grappone said.

He and other town officials said they’ve got the process moving again, although time was lost.

“If the pandemic didn’t happen, we’d probably be on the road to completion,” said Michael DelSanto, a Town Council member and public works committee chairman. “It’s going to take a little more time… This is a marathon not sprint, unfortunately.”

Grappone said delays aren’t due to a lack of enthusiasm on the part of state officials.

“I think everybody’s anxious, including them, to complete the trail,” he said. “It’d be nice to see all this come to completion.”

Completion within sight

Once plans are approved, the next step is to send out bid requests to get a price for the work.

“We’re hopefully on schedule for advertising late this year, at the end of the year,” Grappone said at Wednesday’s public works committee meeting.

The Lazy Lane-Plainville town line section, about two miles long, is the last to be finished in Southington. Plainville’s section of the trail hasn’t yet been completed. Most of the heritage trail, which runs from New Haven into Massachusetts, is finished in Connecticut.

Unlike many other towns and cities along the trail, the Plainville portion cannot use rail beds because the rail line in town is still being used

Lighting, cameras considered

Last month, vandals damaged a mural along Southington’s linear trail. That led the public works committee on Wednesday to form a study group tasked with considering lights for the trail.

Paul Chaplinsky, a Town Council member and committee vice chairman, and Chris Poulos, a Town Council and committee member, will determine the cost and feasibility of lights along the trail to deter vandals.

“Before we start anything, the goal of the group would be to come up with some specific criteria, designs,” Chaplinsky said.

DelSanto said the town can do better about protecting the trail and trail users.

“The best way to do that is to light it,” he said, adding the possibility of cameras if money was available.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ


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