After several unsuccessful grant applications, the town of Warren and local transportation partners learned that the town will receive $769,280 in federal grant funding to build the first part of the Sugarbush Access Road Shared-Use Path.
The Warren grant is the second largest awarded by the Vermont Agency of Transportation through its VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant program. The largest award was $1.2 million for Castleton Village to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility.
The Sugarbush Access Road Shared-Use Path will cost just shy of $1 million to complete according to Warren Select Board member Bob Ackland. The path will run from the intersection of Inferno Road and the Sugarbush Access Road east down the Access Road to the Sugarbush Inn. This first section will be from Inferno Road to Golf Course Road.
“We’re thrilled to be awarded this grant after a long struggle. It’s our third attempt to get this funded. I have to give credit to Sugarbush, specifically Margo Wade, the Mad River Path Association, and Joshua Schwartz at the Mad River Valley Planning District for keeping this moving and always looking for opportunities and ways to improve our chances,” Ackland said.
“Now the hardwork starts,” he added.
Warren received word from the Vermont Agency of Transportation that its funding request to build the first segment of the Sugarbush Access Road Shared-Use Path was successful on August 15. The project selected in a competitive process from among 15 applications statewide and grant requests totaling over $14.6 million. VTrans awarded $4.461 million in grants to municipalities for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvement projects.
The Access Road project consists of final design and construction of Segment 1 of the 10-foot-wide ADA-accessible Sugarbush Access Road Shared-Use Path, establishing a 0.7-mile-long off-road pedestrian connection from Inferno Road to Golf Course Road. The western terminus of Segment 1 is Sugarbush Resort (at Inferno Road), with the eastern terminus being Workforce Housing/Lower Woods Trail Network Trailhead/proposed Mad Bus bus stop structure (at Golf Course Road).
The majority of the path alignment is located within the public right-of-way, with the exception of a section owned by Sugarbush Resort. Segment 1 of the Sugarbush Access Road Path implements a key Major Off Road Connection identified in the 2015 “Mad River Valley Moves Active Transportation Plan” and further detailed in the 2017 “Town of Warren Sugarbush Access Road Path Scoping Study.” The project’s history goes back as far as the 1987’s “Preliminary Feasibility Study – Sugarbush Access Road Pathway Design.”
“The realization of this first segment of the Sugarbush Access Road Shared-Use Path addresses long-standing safety issues along the corridor through the provision of dedicated and accessible pedestrian infrastructure in this high-profile, densely populated location. The project seeks to further community-wide goals of establishing a safe, environmentally-friendly, accessible, and integrated transportation network, increasing both the desirability and feasibility of non-vehicular travel. Among its many benefits, the Shared-Use Path will connect Sugarbush’s planned workforce housing with the mountain, providing a safe way to get to and from work for 240 seasonal workers, in addition to 188 seasonal and year-round residences and six businesses,” explained Schwartz.
Schwartz said that the successful grant application was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Warren, Sugarbush Resort, the Mad River Path Association, the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission, and the Mad River Valley Planning District.
“All of these partners, plus property owners along the Sugarbush Access Road, are ready to see this long-awaited project come to reality. The VTrans award represents 80% project funding, with the remaining 20% match ($192,316) committed and dedicated through a joint effort of Warren and Sugarbush Resort. This was the third attempt to seek funding from the VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program (previously in 2019 and 2022) to implement the Sugarbush Access Road Path Scoping Study that was completed in 2017. Final design is anticipated to commence in 2024,” he added.