Bridging the gap: LDG constructs new trail, footbridge for popular trail system

The Catherine Valley Trail System, located in the Village of Montour Falls, New York, is a favorite hiking/biking destination for both local residents and tourists. Visitors to the Village of Montour Falls’ popular Marina and Campground have long had to contend with utilizing a busy state highway shoulder and vehicular bridge that crosses a canal in order to access the trail from the Park.

To create a lasting solution to this problem, Larson Design Group (LDG) was brought on to guide the design and construction of The Catherine Valley Trail Connection Project, which will provide safe pedestrian access to the 13-mile long Catherine Valley Trail system directly from the Village Park and trailhead parking area. With the construction of a new trail and foot bridge, hikers will be able to cross over the canal using safe, ADA-compliant access, featuring a groomed aggregate trail surface that is located behind the highway guiderail and protected from traffic.

The project proposed the construction of approximately 600 linear feet of new trail and a 90-foot steel truss foot bridge to allow passage above the adjacent canal. The bridge construction itself presented a unique challenge, as the new bridge piers being designed by LDG had to fit an existing structure. Detailed measurements were taken of the existing structure in its present location and the pier connection details were incorporated into the design of the new structure.  Adding another element of collaboration and communication to the scope of the project, the original bridge will be re-used and is being restored by a local construction company.

The project has required significant communication and coordination with multiple state agencies in order to secure grants and funding. The project’s funding agencies included the New York State Canal System; New York State Parks Recreations and Historic Preservation; Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED); and New York State and Municipal Capital Facilities.

The permitting process for this project ranged from state to federal agencies, including State Environmental Quality Review; coordination with the Army Corp of Engineers and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for a joint permit for wetlands and stream encroachment; NYSDEC Flood Control for floodplain impacts; and NYSDOT work permit for constructing within NYSDOT right-of-way. LDG was able to leverage its long and varied experience with permitting processes and communication between multiple project stakeholders to make the permitting process as smooth and expeditious as possible.

The new trail portion of the project is completed and operational as of August 2018, with the restored bridge ready to be set onto the new piers in 2019.

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