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Rails to Trails: Pomfret to Putnam Connector to get Major Upgrades

Rails to Trails: Pomfret to Putnam Connector to get Major Upgrades

An old rail line converted to a hiking trail is getting is getting a makeover, now that the town of Pomfret has applied to the state DOT for a federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant to upgrade the portion of the Air Line Trail that connects the towns of Pomfret and Putnam.

The trail runs along the old railroad line that used to connect Boston to New York City and 21 mile of it stretches from Windham to Putnam, all part of the East Coast Greenway.  The project includes the construction of two pedestrian bridges and three culverts along the trail at a cost estimated at $5.5 million.

The pedestrian bridges include a 100-foot span over Routes 169 and 44 at the old train depot and another near the Audubon Center. Three box culverts along the trail are also part of the work.

Improved safety and usability back to top

Proponents say improved safety and usability of the trail represent just a couple of the project’s benefits – they also believe the improvements will attract more people to the area.

"Data supports the fact that when the trail is improved more people use it," First Selectman Craig Baldwin said. "It's likely more residents will use the trail and there will be an increase in tourism."

The Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments is unanimously supporting the project and NECCOG Executive Director John Filchak said, "Where the trail has been finished or upgraded there has been an uptick in tourism. This will help us draw more people to northeastern Connecticut."