QUEENSBURY — Town officials are considering building an off-road, north-south bicycle trail through National Grid property to connect an area that cannot be easily traversed, even by car.
The $5.3 million project on the town’s west side would run from Peggy Ann Road at the Halfway Brook Trailhead to the Hudson Pointe Boulevard trailhead near the Hudson River, and it would also include an east-west leg to Glens Falls.
If the Town Board moves forward with the project, officials would apply for three state grants to help fund it and build it in three phases to spread out the cost.
The price tag came as some surprise while Town Board members reviewed the concept at Monday’s Town Board meeting.
“What is all that money being used for?” asked board member George Ferone.
Jack Mance, a senior transportation planner with the Adirondack/Glens Falls Transportation Council, said the proposal includes sidewalks in some areas, asphalt paths for four-fifths of a mile, and a bridge.
But he acknowledged the budget could be reduced.
“This is the Cadillac. You don’t have to buy the Cadillac. You could get away with a Corolla in some areas,” he said.
Mance described the proposal as filling an unmet need by cutting directly through National Grid land.
“There’s no way to get from Point A to Point B, even by car. You’d have to go over West Mountain,” he said.
The proposal would create a bike/pedestrian trail that also links to trails in Glens Falls, Fort Edward and points north and south.
Supervisor John Strough, a bicyclist, was particularly enthusiastic about a proposed east-west component, which would travel mostly along existing roads toward Glens Falls.
“If you want interconnectivity, the eastern trail is what you want,” he said.
He noted that focusing on that could be less expensive and use less National Grid land.
“More importantly, it connects neighborhoods, because you do want neighborhoods connected,” he said.
Using National Grid land would be more expensive because the town would have to build a trail, and it would be harder to make it accessible to people with disabilities, he said. But it would give people a long, off-road experience, he noted.
He liked the idea of broaching the concept with National Grid.
“I think we have a study that shows real possibilities here,” he said.
Mance added that the Adirondack/Glens Falls Transportation Council would communicate with National Grid, if the Town Board board tells the council to move forward,
“Communication with them is the first step,” he said.
The board is considering the idea.