Williston bike path gets rolling

By Ben Moger-Williams
Observer staff

The town awarded a contract Tuesday for the first construction phase of a planned multi-million-dollar bike path.

Williston Public Works Director Neil Boyden announced that All Seasons Excavating & Landscaping Inc., of Colchester would begin work Monday – weather dependent – on the 790-foot section of the bike path, located northwest of Taft Corners near Helena Drive.

Boyden said the company plans to complete construction of the 10-foot-wide path, which includes the asphalt path; retaining wall; and seeding and mulching around the path. Landscaping around the path will have to wait until the spring, Boyden said.

The contracted amount for this phase of the project is $99,678.85.

The section is part of a larger network of bike paths that the town voted to build at town meeting in 2003. The entire length of the path will be about 2-3 miles, Boyden estimated.

Boyden explained that the town is beginning with a relatively small piece of the bike path. because he was able to acquire permits, easements and rights of way for the piece. Since many sections of the path go through privately owned land, property owners must grant easements to the town that allow the paths to be constructed and used.

“That tends to be a long process,” Boyden said. “There’s always someone who doesn’t want it in their front yard or back yard.”

Bidding for the project was opened two weeks ago, and the town received three bids, Boyden said. The highest bid was more than $160,000, and All Seasons Excavating offered the lowest price for the job, he said.

A year and a half ago the town bonded $2.6 million for a bike path in various locations around Williston. The sections of the path bonded by the town are expected to be completed in the next 2-4 years. There are more sections of the path that were approved for town-matching funds. For these sections, the town must first secure federal money for the path, and then the town will match the funds provided by the government and build those sections.

“I don’t know how much we’ll be seeing in the next fiscal year,” Boyden said. “A lot of that money went to the southern part of the country” for hurricane relief, he said.