With the formal opening of the Milton Rails to Trail project Monday, Delaware adds another section to trails that allow state residents to walk a little or bike a lot.
Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan and other state and local officials opened the 1,600-foot-path that connects Wagamon’s West Shores to the town of Milton. The project, which cost $662,000, rebuilt and converted a railroad trestle, creating a bridge for walkers and riders.
“Our growing Sussex County trail system is a great example of our commitment to supporting all modes of transportation, and each new section we complete is another piece of the puzzle as we continue to build a low-stress interconnected trail system for the benefit of our residents and guests,” Cohan said.
Delaware now has more than 500 miles of pedestrian and bike trails.
The Rails to Trails Project is designed to convert abandoned, inactive and publicly owned active railroad corridor segments into off-road paths that could be used.
There are three projects planned for Sussex County. DelDOT completed Phase II of the Georgetown-Lewes Running Track in 2019. The Ellendale to Milton Industrial Track will consist of 6.8 miles with Phase II of the Junction & Breakwater Trail expanding with the opening of the new Milton trail.
“I’m glad to see completion of the Rails to Trails Phase II extension,” Mayor Ted Kanakos said. “The extended area results in increased connectivity and an area for pedestrian and bicycling use.”
State Sen. Ernie Lopez (X-Lewes), who was also at the official opening said he was happy to see the network grow.
“Our beautiful network of trails in the Cape region are jewels for all to enjoy,” Lopez said.
State Rep. Steve Smyk (R-Milton) believes the trail will encourage families to get out and enjoy the nature that surrounds Sussex County residents.
“Especially now,” he said, “when families and loved ones are so ready to get outside and spend quality time together in a safe and responsible way, this comes at a perfect time.”
Sussex County Councilman I.G. Burton believes the new trail will enhance the quality of life of those who live in the area.
“Their popularity is evident with the number of cyclists and pedestrians you will find throughout the year exercising, exploring and enjoying our natural beauty,” he said. I look forward to more projects like this that promote health while improving mobility.”
The next phase of the project is the Georgetown to Lewes trail, which will eventually stretch nearly 17 miles.