SCHENECTADY COUNTY -- Repaving and repairs to the popular Schenectady County bike trail will continue this year, county officials said, and a new section of trail along the Mohawk River will open.
Repaving is scheduled in the Rotterdam Junction area, after about 2 miles of the trail west of Schenectady County Community College were repaved over the past two years, at an estimated cost of $150,000.
The $215,000 project this year is expected to repave two sections in Rotterdam, with the federal government covering 80 percent of the cost. One section will be from the Route 5S crossing west to where the trail now ends at Scrafford Lane, and the other section will be between Iroquois Street and the CSX railroad bridge over Route 5S.
Once that work is complete, county officials said all 9 miles of the trail west of the college will have been repaved since 2014.
Also this year, the $1 million Alco Heritage Trail, running 1.3 miles along the length of Schenectady's Mohawk River waterfront from Front Street to the Freeman's Bridge, is expected to open. County officials said the trail, being paid for with state funds, as well as funds from the Metroplex Development Authority and private donations, is 90 percent complete.
The county, in coordination with Metroplex, will also spend $30,000 to study the feasibility of extending the bike trail adjoining Schenectady's Stockade Neighborhood from its current terminus at River Street to Riverside Park.
"The project will significantly improve the continuity of the off-road trail system by providing a safe alternative route for the Mohawk River and through the Mohawk Harbor development site," county officials said in a project description.
The county trail, while owned and maintained by the county, is part of the Erie Canalway Trail that extends from Buffalo to Albany, with some gaps. One of those gaps is between Rotterdam Junction and Amsterdam, where bikers must ride on Route 5S.
The Canalway Trail is a central feature of the Empire State Trail, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $200 million proposal to establish a 750-mile multi-use trail that would cross the state from east to west and north to south. Cuomo's goal is to finish the system by 2020.
County officials also said they will complete 1,500 linear feet of multi-use path that runs from the end of the Flower Hill cul-de-sac to Rosendale Road. An trail spur along the Ferry Road bridge will also be completed. The project, which will cost about $600,000, includes a mid-block crosswalk with flashing beacons and some minor guardrail work. County officials said most of the work is done, with installation of the flashing lights to take place this spring.
A report released earlier this year by the state Canal Corp. and Parks & Trails New York found that a Schenectady County location -- Lions Park in Niskayuna -- is the busiest spot on the entire Canalway Trail, with an estimated 180,000 visitors per year.
"Schenectady County will continue to look for ways to improve our bike-hike trail that will benefit our residents and visitors alike," said Anthony Jasenski, D-Rotterdam, chairman of the Schenectady County Legislature.
Schenectady city officials are also working to make the city more bike-friendly.