SARATOGA SPRINGS -- An off-road trail between the Geyser Crest area and downtown Saratoga Springs should become reality by late next year.
The City Council on Tuesday awarded a $3.2 million construction contract for the Geyser Road Trail, which has been in discussion or planning for the last 15 years, and has been nearing construction since last spring, when the final land acquisition issues were settled.
"We're happy to see this moving forward after a long period of time," said Mayor Meg Kelly.
The contact was awarded to William J. Keller & Sons Construction of Castleton, which submitted the lowest of seven bids the city received. The bulk of work on the trail is expected to occur during the 2020 construction season. Contract documents call for completion by Nov. 15.
Most of the cost of the project is expected to be covered by grants. The city has $2.3 million in federal funding for the project, according to the mayor's office, with the balance coming from city bonding and other sources. The total project cost is $3.8 million, which includes the costs not covered under the construction contract, such as engineering design.
The 2.8-mile trail will run parallel to Geyser Road from the Milton town line to Route 50 at the Saratoga Spa State Park. There will be an 8-foot-wide paved path built along the north side of Geyser Road.
It will give pedestrians and people using bicycles from the thousands of homes in the Geyser Crest area an alternative to walking or riding on the shoulder of busy Geyser Road. The project also includes creation of signal-controlled pedestrian crosswalk at Route 50 and the entrance to the state park, the busiest intersection in that part of the city.
Geyser Road is used by about 5,500 vehicles per day west of the Grande Industrial Park, and more than 11,000 vehicles in the short section between the industrial park and Route 50, which includes a bridge over railroad tracks. Much of the added traffic near the industrial park is heavy truck traffic.
The amount of traffic, along with the railroad tracks separating Geyser Crest from the rest of the city, prompted residents to call for construction off an off-road trail for them to get to Saratoga Spa State Park and the rest of the city.
The trail is also expected to be part of the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail, a long-range plan for a 23-mile mostly off-road loop of trails encircling the city, which Saratoga Springs officials like to describe as the "City in the Country."