Two years and a half years after Riverhead was awarded $3.16 million in federal stimulus funding to design and build bike paths around town, Town Engineer Ken Testa told the Town Board on Tuesday morning he's ready to submit his plans to the State Department of Transportation and sought the board's final approval.
Testa said he hopes to break ground on the project next spring and have construction finished by the end of 2012. In the meantime, the current plans — which run from recently opened ball fields in Calverton up to Pier Beach in Northville — are not 100 percent set in stone, should the town decide it wants to make minor changes.
Most of the cost of the project will come in the form of asphalt and road widening, striping, and curbing, Testa said, with approximately $400,000 going to engineering and design costs. Exactly where the town will include curbs is one of the things that could change, though Testa suggested at Tuesday's work session that curbing be placed on Manor Lane and Peconic Bay Boulevard, connecting South Jamesport Avenue to the town beach.
Testa said in the 30 months since the town won the $3.16 million award, his department has been busy designing and completing a and completing the renovation.
"We've had so many projects going on," said Testa, one of two full-time engineers with the town. "The EPCAL spur will help lead to economic development and the Grangebel project has been in the works for years. And coming up with the route took a long time too, between blending with the surrounding communities and meeting up with state and county trails."
Testa said the town may have to chip in roughly $40,000 to cover cost overruns for consultants that the state would be unwilling to pay.
The proposed bike path and road widening project will start at the Calverton ball fields on Route 25 and head east, turning south on Edwards Avenue and then east onto River Road. From there it will meet back up with Route 25 across from the Hotel Indigo, head back east and wind north of the downtown area, and meet up with an existing bike lane near the corner of Roanoke Avenue and Elton Street.
The new trails then pick back up in Aquebogue on Meeting House Creek Road and onto Peconic Bay Boulevard; then head north on South Jamesport Avenue, with parallel routes running up Manor and Herricks Lanes, finally ending up at the end of Pier Avenue.
Riverhead was one of 59 towns across the state that received a chunk of a total of $81 million through the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users(SAFETEA - LU), which was administered through the Department of Transportation.