"The vision for the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and CTfastrak Gap Closure study is to connect the communities with a world-class multi-use trail that closes the gap in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FCHT) through the towns of Southington and Plainville with a connection to the CTfastrak station in downtown New Britain. These links will prioritize safety, comfort, and mobility for all users, regardless of age or ability, through cohesive and attractive trails that promote economic and community vitality."
Objectives of the Study
- Close the Gap in the FCHT through Plainville and
- Identify a connection to the CTfastrak station in New Britain.
This objective of the current study is to determine a defined corridor to close the Gap in the FCHT through Plainville and provide a connection to the CTfastrak station in New Britain. Major items of the study include:
- All options are on the table for the corridors. While past studies will be reviewed to learn from them, to start nothing is being ruled out so that this process starts with a blank slate.
- A large public engagement program consisting of a Steering Committee, Technical Committee, Public Informational Meetings, Charrettes, and other public meetings to encourage public participation and garner feedback from the community.
- Alternatives will be compared utilizing a decision matrix to determine the alignment that best meets the vision of the study that can be built.
The results of the Feasibility Study will:
- Define a corridor for the FCHT Gap Closure and CTfastrak connection into New Britain so that the local communities can seek future funding for design and construction of the facility.
- Provide a preliminary cost estimate and define potential impacts associated with the preferred alignment.
- Identify funding sources that can be utilized for the design and construction of the facility.
Farmington Canal Heritage Trail
The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FCHT) is a multi-use trail stretching from New Haven, Connecticut to Northampton, Massachusetts, covering approximately 84 miles. Most of the trail has been completed, but a significant gap exists through the entire Town of Plainville and part of Southington. The trail will soon extend north from New Haven to Town Line Road in Southington, and south from the Massachusetts state line to the Farmington/Plainville town line. Most of the existing or soon to be completed portions of the trail use abandoned railroad rights-of-way for their alignments, however, efforts to use the same rail corridor in Plainville have been unsuccessful. While the rail corridor is intact through Plainville, there is active rail freight service controlled by Pan Am Southern Railroad. Rail-with-trail concepts have been met with resistance from Pan Am over concerns of the potential effect on their rail operations.