On a daily basis, people lace up their sneakers and head out biking or running on the 84 mile trail from New Haven to Northampton, Massachusetts. However, there is a glaringly obvious 9-mile gap between Farmington and Southington.
Trail users run into difficulty at the particular spot on the trail.
"When you get into Southington and then all of a sudden you're on the roads in Plainville. It's very difficult to get to some of the other more beautiful spots in the state," said Kathy Poeler of Bristol.
For years, there have been plans of closing that gap, but new plans are currently in the works to make that vision closer to a reality. The first part of the project will close the gap from Red Oak Hill Road in Farmington, all the way to Northwest Drive in Plainville.
Robert E. Lee, the Plainville Town Manager, is optimistic about the plans to move forward.
"Very exciting. We've been working on it for a long time and it’s good that it comes down in to Plainville," Lee said.
Construction on that particular part of the plan, which includes a parking lot and a pavilion, is expected to be completed by next fall. The second part of the plan will close the gap from Plainville to Mill Road in Southington, which is no small feat. Lee highlighted challenges with the design on the rail line.
"We have live rails so we cannot build on the rail line. We're looking to see how we're going to design the trail going through Plainville," said Lee.
In regards to funding, officials believe 80 percent of the project will be federally funded, and are optimistic the state will cover the rest. If all goes well, the entire gap could be completed in four years. Avid users of the trail are excited for the completion of the project.
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