Pequonnock River Trail
The goal of this project is to connect segments of existing trails along the Pequonnock River to create a continuous greenway from Long Island Sound and Downtown Bridgeport, through Trumbull, to the Monroe-Newtown town line.
The planned trail generally follows the path of the abandoned Housatonic Railway corridor and runs parallel to the Pequonnock River. It starts in Downtown Bridgeport, passes through Beardsley Park into Trumbull, across the Route 15 and Route 25 interchange area, into Twin Brooks Park, through the Pequonnock River Valley and into Monroe, where it follows the old rail bed through Wolfe Park to the Newtown town line. Once completed, the Pequonnock River Trail (PRT) will extend about 16.2 miles.
Over the years, several sections of the trail have been designed and constructed. Currently, about 10.2 miles are open to the public.
The first section constructed was the Housatonic Railway rail-trail in Monroe. Completed in 1999, this section begins in Wolfe Park near Purdy Hill Road and ends at the Newtown town line. It is approximately 4.2 miles in length.
The next section, completed in 2001, involved the conversion of the old Berkshire spur, including demolition of elevated structures, removal of rail and ties, and environmental remediation. This 1.6 mile section runs from Stratford Avenue to North Avenue (US Route 1).
A major extension of the PRT was completed in 2008 with the construction of a 4.5 mile trail through the town of Trumbull. The trail begins in the vicinity of Trumbull Center and ends at the Monroe town line. It follows the old rail bed through the Pequonnock Valley, a state owned park and preserve. New sections were constructed under and along the Route 25 Expressway, through Old Mine Park and from Route 111 to the Trumbull-Monroe town line. A short spur trail (about 0.4 miles) branches from the main trail to Main Street.
The connection between the Monroe and Trumbull sections necessitated an alignment through an office park development, the Monroe Public Works garage and yard, and Wolfe Park. This section was the focus of the Innovative Financing plan. The developer of the office park agreed to construct the trail through his parcel at no cost to the town and, subsequently, committed to building the next section to Wolfe Park. Work through the office park was completed in 2009 and the extension to Wolfe Park is being designed.
Plans for extending the trail from the Pequonnock Valley are well underway. The consultant engineer has initiated the trail design and primarily calls for the use of a separate right-of-way starting from the Pequonnock Valley and ending at Crown Street, Bridgeport. Once completed, this segment will add 4.1 miles to the regional trail network.
This section will run along Daniels Farm Road, through Twin Brooks Park, Beardsley State Park (formerly Fairchild Memorial Park) and Beardsley Park. It will cross the Merritt Parkway using a rehabilitated existing bridge and two ramps of the Route 25 Expressway using tunnels that will be built under the ramps.
In the future, the plan envisions extending the trail beyond Beardsley Park and connecting with the northern terminus of the Berkshire Spur trail section at US Route 1. However, at this time, a practical and feasible route is not available. Several problem areas exist, including intense commercial/industrial development, frequent commercial driveways, physical barriers (Pequonnock River and Bunnells Pond dam), steep elevation, and high traffic volumes.
The plan also calls for extending the Berkshire Spur section southward to the Water Street Dock.
Implementation and construction of the PRT has been funded mainly by federal aid funds authorized under the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Enhancement program, supplemented by state grants, FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) Recreational Trails program funds, local contributions and private donations.