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Construction begins on new sections of Erie Canalway Trail in Niagara County


Wed, May 9th 2018 12:55 pm
WNY project will provide for 135-mile uninterrupted stretch of trail
The New York State Canal Corporation and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced the groundbreaking of new construction on a 2.1-mile stretch of the Erie Canalway Trail in Niagara County and a five-mile section in the Mohawk Valley. When completed, the trails will be major cornerstones toward finishing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Empire State Trail project.
The agencies also announced construction is beginning on an upgrade of a 12-mile section of Old Erie Canal State Historic Park in Central New York.
The Empire State Trail, which will include the Erie Canalway Trail, Hudson River Greenway and Champlain Valley Trail, is expected to be completed in 2020. It will comprise a 750-mile network of bicycle and walking trails, the largest state system in the U.S., and stretch from New York City to the Canadian border, and from Albany west to Buffalo.
A groundbreaking ceremony in Amherst officially kicked off construction for a new section of trail in Niagara County that will run from Tonawanda Creek Road to Feigle/Fisk Road. It will link up on the western end with a four-mile section of the trail completed in late 2015 between Feigle/Fisk Road and Stevens Street in Lockport. It will provide for an uninterrupted 135-mile stretch of trail, from Buffalo to Lyons. Completion is expected in summer 2019.
Gil C. Quiniones, president and CEO at the New York Power Authority, the parent organization of the Canal System, said, "NYPA has long been linked to Western New York through our Niagara Power Project, which has supported hundreds of millions of dollars of improvements in the region. Completing the trail out west will spur more visitation to the Buffalo-Niagara area and provide a big lift to the local economy."
State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, "State Parks looks forward to making great progress this year on Gov. Cuomo's goal to build the country's largest state multi-use trail network. These Empire State Trail improvements will encourage people to connect with one another, enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle, and explore New York's historic pathways."
Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director, said, "This is an exciting moment for the thousands of people who use the Erie Canalway Trail in Western New York and in the Mohawk Valley. The ability to stay on the trail will make for an experience that is both more scenic and safer."
The stretch from Pendleton to Buffalo is the most heavily used part of the Canalway Trail, with an estimated 350,000 annual trips.
"Already, there are more than 1.6 million visitors annually on the Erie Canalway Trail, and that number will rise quickly when the Pendleton section is finished," said Andy Beers, Empire State Trail director. "The governor has made increasing tourism and recreation opportunities a priority and completing the trail will help make that happen."
The Erie Canalway Trail is currently about 82 percent complete. Most of the unfinished sections are in the Mohawk Valley and Central New York.

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