BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) — The Bennington Rail Trail is now open for pedestrians and bicyclists to use. Although the trail is not fully completed, is it safe and available for the public, said Bennington town officials.

The Bennington Rail Trail begins at the western end of the Walloomsac Pathway at the public parking area on Depot Street. The path is paved to the intersection with Orchard Road off of Northside Drive. It is then a packed gravel surface path to Emma Street.

“The new Bennington Rail Trail provides a bike and pedestrian friendly link between Downtown Bennington and the Northside Drive area which greatly enhances safety for those using the path as well as linking other pathways in town such as the Orchard Village/Willowbrook Pathway and the Kocher Drive Pathway which in turn connects to the East Road Pathway,” said the town.

Planning for this new rail trail began over 10 years ago, said the town. Construction began in the fall of 2021 and work continued throughout 2022. The old rails were removed, and new surfaces, crosswalks, signage, bridge work, and landscaping was added. The cost of the work was 90% paid for through federal and state grant funding.

Only non-motorized vehicles ae allowed on the Bennington Rail Trail, however Class 1, 2 and 3 electric bicycles are allowed. Other pathway rules include:

  • All dogs must be on a leash
  • No alcohol
  • No littering
  • Keep right except to pass
  • Ride at a safe speed
  • Warn pedestrians before passing from behind with a bell or by saying “on your left”
  • Bicycles should use front and rear lights at night
  • Protective head gear is recommended for cyclists, but is not required by state law

An official ribbon cutting ceremony for the new pathway will be held in spring 2023. “This trail is an important part of the overall network of paths throughout the town,” said town officials.