On June 29, state and town officials officially opened the new 1,600-foot-long Rails to Trails extension in downtown Milton.
The $1 million project extends the town’s Rails to Trails from Federal Street to Lavinia Street, complete with a refurbished railroad trestle bridge and access to Wagamon’s West Shores development.
Mayor Ted Kanakos said the extension opened 12 years after the first section of the Rails to Trails, which led from Chestnut Street to Federal Street. The project was funded with $800,000 from Delaware Department of Transportation, $110,000 in community transportation funds from Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, and Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton, and $90,000 from Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
“This is a very special day for the town of Milton,” Kanakos said. “I’m glad to see completion of the Rails to Trails Phase II extension. The extended area results in increased connectivity and an area for pedestrian and bicycling use.”
Smyk said the trail provides a link from Wagamon’s West Shores to downtown Milton.
“It’s great to see this beautiful project completed in Milton,” he said. “Especially now when families and loved ones are so ready to get outside and spend quality time together in a safe and responsible way, this comes at a perfect time.”
“Our beautiful networks of trails in the Cape Region are jewels for all to enjoy. I've been proud to support their growth and am particularly pleased to see Milton have a new public space which locals and visitors alike can enjoy with their families and loved ones,” Lopez said.
Sussex County Councilman Irwin ‘I.G.’ Burton III said trails are an important and necessary part of a vibrant, efficient and safe transportation system, and their popularity is evident with the number of cyclists and pedestrians using them. He said trails promote health while improving mobility.
Work on the trail began in early February and took until mid-June. The longest portion of construction was of the rehabilitated trestle bridge, which was converted to a wooden bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians. The section connecting Wagamon’s West Shores to the trail was completed in April, and the sections from Lavinia Street to the bridge and Federal Street to the bridge were completed by the end of May.
DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan said, “Our growing Sussex County trail system is a great example of our commitment to supporting all modes of transportation, and each new section we complete is another piece of the puzzle as we continue to build a low-stress, interconnected trail system for the benefit of our residents and guests.”