The Making of the LVRT
The first shovels have been put in the ground! On July 19, 2013, Alexis Nelson, VAST Executive Director, Laird MacDowell, LVRTC Chair, and Senator Bernie Sanders took part in a groundbreaking ceremony of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. The groundbreaking took place at bridge 13 in St. Johnsbury, the missing link to connect the Three Rivers Bike Path with the 93 miles of the LVRT, and on to the Swanton Recreation Trail. The first of many projects consists of the construction two bridges, #13 over Mount Vernon Street in St. J, and #17d spanning Whiteman Brook in Danville. Blow & Cote of Morrisville, VT has been awarded the contract, and anticipates completing the bridges in October of this year.
2013 has proved to be an exciting time for the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. The first of three construction projects included in Phase 1, is nearly completed. Work included the installation of two bridges at the eastern most end of the trail.
Bridge #13 (Photo above, left) over Mount Vernon Street in St. Johnsbury was delivered and installed on October 10th, and connects the Three Rivers Bike Path to the LVRT. Bridge #17d (photo, right) spanning Whiteman Brook in Danville was delivered and installed on October 25th. The installation of this bridge now offers snowmobilers more than 17 miles of uninterrupted rail corridor riding from St. Johnsbury to Walden.
East Hardwick Section
When a section of the original rail bed was washed out in East Hardwick in 2006, the team at VAST saw it as an opportunity to try out some of the clearing and reconstruction techniques planned for the length of the LVRT. Overseen by VAST engineer Alan Robertson, the .6-mile “prototype” section of trail was completed during the summer of 2007. The project involved clearing, drainage ditching, resurfacing and grading. Along with the finished Swanton section, it gives an exciting sense of what the 96 mile experience will be like.
Swanton Section of Finished Trail
This 1-mile section of finished trail in Swanton was completed in 2009, and marks the western most end of the LVRT. This last leg of the trail is a great example of the value that the LVRT will have to all of the communities that it passes through. The Swanton section has already become a center of fitness and recreation for the townspeople. On any given day, even this short section of the rail trail draws school groups, families, and visitors alike. Imagine what the finished project will mean to Vermont.
In addition to the trail rehabilitation and construction, the making of the LVRT will involve renovating and replacing a number of crossings and bridges along its route. Two great examples of this work are the new bridge crossing Rte. 2B in Danville and the wonderful new Swanton Footbridge. The new Bridge 16L in Danville is another example of the working partnership between VTrans and VAST. It was funded and installed by VTrans in 2008 in order to facilitate the completion of the LVRT.
The Swanton Footbridge Bridge was originally built in 1902 spanning the Lamoille River in Milton – and it was one of the few bridges to survive the great flood of 1927. In 2009 it was dismantled and transported twenty miles to Swanton to serve as the new pedestrian crossing of the Missisquoi River at the end of the LVRT. The center section was added to the historic structure to span the greater width of the Missisquoi.