New Railway Trail stretch to open on Saturday
A newly restored stretch of the Railway Trail in Hamilton Parish will be officially opened this weekend.
The huge operation to resurrect the section from Crawl Hill to Coney Island has taken around a year to complete and has involved the assembly of 740ft of bridge spans.
A christening of the bridge will take place at 10am on Saturday on the east side of the new Bailey’s Bay bridge span.
The Governor George Fergusson, his wife Margaret, and Minister of Public Works, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, will attend the official opening of the new stretch.
The new trail will then open after the ceremony.
The project has been spearheaded by Olympian Tucker Murphy, and his father, Mike, as well as a host of business partners and volunteers.
Tucker Murphy told The Royal Gazette: “The bridges have been built following specifications to withstand category 4 hurricane force winds.
“They were tested while in the final stages of construction during hurricanes Faye and Gonzalo and withstood both with only minimal adjustments necessary. Sections of the trail that were impenetrable over the last 30 years have been cleared of extensive undergrowth and been opened.
“Many indigenous plants have been placed along the trail as part of the planning requirements and some sections of trail have also been sodded. Railings have been completed in areas where they were deemed necessary for safety reasons.”
The total cost of bridges and all of the improvements made so far has totalled around $900,000, which has been financed primarily by the private sector.
The bridges help create a continuous linear park in Hamilton Parish, stretching from Coney Island to the foot of Crawl Hill where it diverts to North Shore Road for a short distance then continues through Shelley Bay on to Flatts.
Mr Murphy added: “The Founding Members of Friends of the Bermuda Railway Trail deserve the credit for planning and financing this joint venture effort in association with the Department of Parks.
“They include Renaissance Re, Ironshore Insurance Ltd, Allied World and Montpelier Re. These companies along with Deloitte have devoted some of their volunteer days to actively improving parts of the trail as well.
“Architects, engineers, contractors and volunteers also offered reduced rates or donated time to this endeavour.
“Their efforts are highlighted in a sign on the east side of Bailey’s Bay.
The trail will be open to pedestrians and pedal bikers, however motorised vehicles are strictly prohibited.
It is also unsafe for horses because of the efforts to reduce the visual impact of the bridge, which involved lowering the rails.
Fishing is also not permitted on the bridges.
Mike Murphy added: “Due to the rain this week and the very recent placement of sod and compost in sections of the trail, particularly on the west side of Bailey’s Bay, the trail is likely to be muddy for the next week until it can set and dry a bit.
“As a result we would discourage immediate use of this section. People coming to the christening at 10am should park up toward the cricket club or east of Bailey’s Bay at Duck’s Puddle parking lot.”