Ridgefield to build half-mile trail on Ligi's Way 'to develop the pedestrian network' in town

RIDGEFIELD — The town plans to soon begin building a trail along Ligi's Way with a goal to encourage walking, jogging and bird watching.

The project includes the design and construction of about 2,510 feet of an 8-foot-wide walkway along Farmingville Road and Ligi's Way.

"It will definitely be a big project for next year," Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said. When completed, "it will provide a unique area to look out over the Great Swamp for bird watching," he said.    

"It's great to see us continue to develop the pedestrian network in Ridgefield," said Robert Hendrick, chairman of the town Planning & Zoning Commission. "That's one of the major goals of our Plan of Conservation and Development for the community —  to increase pedestrian opportunities in Ridgefield. This is a big step along that way."

According to the project site plans, it will include a wooden boardwalk and a 60-foot prefabricated steel pedestrian bridge. The nearly half-mile walkway will begin at Danbury Road and Farmingville Road, then extend along Farmingville Road and Ligi's Way, and end at Ligi's Way and South Street.

"You walk down Farmingville to the intersection of Ligi's Way, cross the street and walk the boardwalk the entire length of Ligi's Way," Marconi said.

"Then you would walk in front of ROAR (Ridgefield Operation Animal Rescue), in front of the recycling area, in front of the fuel depot. In front of the Goodwill trailer —  there'll be a new sidewalk all along there — and you'll go into the woods behind the Goodwill trailer."

Ligi's Way, which was previously called Bypass Road, was renamed after Ridgefield Police Chief Richard Ligi, who died in 2008 at age 60. 

The area, which the town owns, is now all woods. The first step in the project will be to create the boardwalk, which will be about 1,600 feet long.

"The proposed wooden boardwalk along Ligi Way is to minimize wetland disruption and keep all work within town of Ridgefield right-of-way. ... The continuation of this path under future phases will directly connect to the existing Rails-to-Trails walkway leading to the Branchville section of Ridgefield," the site plan says.

When the project is done, the town will probably dedicate additional parking for it, Marconi said. Construction could also cause some traffic delays, he said. 

The project, which was initially expected to take place during the summer of 2021, was delayed due to a supply chain shortage.

"During COVID, the price of lumber skyrocketed. We didn't have any bids so we had to rebid the project," said Marconi, adding that he doesn't yet know the cost of the project or the timeline.

The funds will come from the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program, which provides state funds to urbanized area municipal governments in lieu of federal funds otherwise available through federal transportation legislation.