ELMIRA - The Chemung County Executive’s Office is pleased to announce the opening of an additional 5 miles of the Lackawanna Trail. The new section runs south from E. Water Street in the City of Elmira to Lowman Crossover (CR08) in the Town of Ashland, and complements the 3-mile section currently operating from E. Water Street north to Eldridge Park. The final phase of this work began in late spring of this year, and continued through to November. Before the County’s project, the New York State Department of Transportation constructed a utility access corridor along the route, providing $900,000 of new culverts, grading, and drainage work.
“Beyond widening our recreational and transportation choices, the Lackawanna Trail provides exercise opportunities, improves access to the Chemung River and parks along the route, boosts tourism, and aids in recruiting companies to our area,” says Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli.
This phase cost an additional $650,000, and provided an asphalt-emulsion injected sub-base with a “cape-seal” wearing surface. Cape-seals blend chip seal and slurry seal technology to provide a smoother surface than chip seal alone. The wearing surface should be suitable for all levels of bicycle and pedestrian users, and was built to ADA standards. Additionally, the project provided trail signage, benches, privacy fencing for adjacent neighbors, and a trailhead parking lot and access point at CR08. Parking is also available at E. Water Street and Eldridge Park. Funds for the County’s final phase came from Federal Transportation Enhancement and Transportation Alternatives Programs (TEP and TAP), and was supplemented with 20% local funding from Chemung County.
“The benefit of the Lackawanna Trail will provide many important benefits to the people of the Southern Tier for all ages. It will provide a safe and level surface that young cyclists and their parents can learn how to ride. There will be no traffic or dangers available on the trail,” says Kent Goben of the Southern Tier Bicycle League.
Since the late 1990’s, the City of Elmira and Chemung County have worked together to build sections of the Lackawanna Trail System. Other trail partners include the Elmira Chemung Transportation Council, Creating Healthy Places, BACPAC, Southern Tier Bicycle League, and Chemung River Friends. The Lackawanna Trail traverses sections of the City and Town of Elmira and the Town of Ashland. Future extensions to the north (Catherine Valley Trail), west (Big Flats Rail Trail), and southeast are under consideration. “Chemung County has worked diligently with its municipalities and partners to increase recreational and transportation alternative choices for its residents. Projects like these serve to bring communities together in the truest sense of the word,” says County Executive Tom Santulli.
The Lackawanna Trail is open year-round, providing access and opportunities for cyclists, walkers, anglers, and other outdoor users. The corridor largely follows the route of the former Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Railroad, the “Route of the Phoebe Snow.” For Trail Stewardship and other volunteering opportunities, please contact the City of Elmira or Chemung River Friends.
For more information on the trail corridor, and other outdoor activities, please see the following resources:
Chemung River Friends: http://www.chemungriverfriends.org/