Salamanca rail trail to see electrical, paving work in coming months

Decorative rocks line the old Pennsy Trail as it crosses over Titus Run Creek in Salamanca, one of several aesthetic additions to the trail as part of the Seneca Nation of Indians’ project to rehabilitate it this year.

SALAMANCA — Construction on rehabilitating the old Pennsy Trail in Salamanca to make a more walkable city by the Seneca Nation of Indians Department of Transportation has been underway for about a year now and is looking to be completed by this fall.

Project manager Sharon Ray said the Nation had recently finalized contracts for electrical work and paving on the trail to occur in the coming weeks and be completed before October.

“I think it’s going to be beautiful,” she said. “You really need to get out and take a walk on it.”

Original estimates for the project in 2018 were about $600,000. The Cattaraugus County Legislature approved a $100,000 contribution to the Nation for the project in 2017.

Ray said the electrical work would include lighting, conduits, cameras and emergency call boxes. Along with putting down asphalt, she said the paving work along the trail would also include sidewalk replacements to meet ADA requirements, such as ramps and safety bumps.

While the paving and electrical work is happening, Ray said there will be posted signs letting people know which sections of the trail are under construction and to not use it that day.

In the past couple months, crews have been out preparing the path for these updates, including 8-foot-wide milling along nearly the whole 3.1-mile trail.

“All the milling has been done in-kind with our forces between the Seneca Nation DPW and some help from the Salamanca DPW,” Ray said. “With the milling done it’s beautiful as is.”

In addition to the paving and electrical work, some aesthetic changes have also been done along the trail, including installation of a fence in an old parking lot the trail passes through between Wilson and Summit streets separating the trail from where cars drive.

“We did break it out and put some grass seed down,” Ray said. “Our plans are to plant some flowers and stuff in that area.”

A couple spots on the trail also have some decorative and functional rock placements, Ray said, most notably when the trail passes over Titus Run Creek to help curb erosion and at the trailhead near the old hospital site off Parkway Drive.

“We made the parking area for the trailhead and then the rocks are there so people don’t drive up on the trail,” she said.

Ray said the Nation has a department that teaches people the basics of carpentry that will help make benches to place along the trail. She said a couple porch swings may also be added.

Once paving is complete, proper signage and crosswalks will be put in along the trail when it crosses the streets, Ray said.

At this point, Ray said the trail won’t allow any motorized vehicles, being open only for pedestrians and those on bikes, rollerblades and similar non-motorized transport. This means no snowmobiles during the winter months.

“Another thing in the contract for the asphalt is putting bollards at the ends of the trail,” she said. “We don’t want people with four wheelers on there or driving their cars.”

At the Broad Street extension, between the Interstate 86 expressway ramp and RC Hoag Drive, the Ohi:yo’ Gateway project has renovated the west entrance into the city and will serve as another access point to the Pennsy Trail and the trails into Jimersontown.

Although the abandoned Pennsylvania Rail Line currently goes by the Pennsy Trail, there has been past discussion of rebranding it with a new name selected once the project is complete.

(Contact Salamanca Press editor Kellen Quigley at kquigleysp@gmail.com)

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