Friday, September 28, 2007
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail construction begins at last
An event two decades in the making, the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 1 construction of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail will be held next week in Chelmsford. The public celebration will be held at Chelmsford's Old Town Hall (on Route 4 in the center of town) at 3 p.m. on Thursday, October 4.
The ceremony will include remarks given by MassHighway Commissioner Luisa Paiewonsky. Parking will be available in the municipal lot off Route 4 by the Chelmsford library.
Rail Trail links towns
The project to convert 25 miles of unused railroad track into a path for pedestrians, inline-skaters and bikers, is split into three phases, with Phase 1 construction expected to be completed in about two years.
Extending from Lowell for about seven miles through Chelmsford and Westford, the Phase 1 segment ends by the intersection of Routes 225 and 27 near the Carlisle border (see map). The Massachusetts Highway Department has awarded the $4,239,000 Phase 1 construction contract to the S&R Corporation of Lowell.
Carlisle in Phase 2
Phase 2, to be built later, will run approximately 13 miles south from Westford through Carlisle, Acton, West Concord and Concord to Route 20 in Sudbury.
In May 2006 Carlisle Town Meeting voted to spend up to $20,000 from Community Preservation Funds for Carlisle's share of the trail design work.
Carlisle's portion is only 847.2 feet according to Alan Cameron, Carlisle's representative to the board of the Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Inc. Cameron said, "The initial design of the Westford-Carlisle-Acton portion of it is almost completed, with a final review to occur in a month or two, and the design of the Concord portion is also underway. We're hoping that this Phase 1 construction will add momentum to the Phase 2 program.
The final section, Phase 3, is to extend about 4.5 miles from Sudbury into Framingham.
The trail is named after the late Bruce Freeman, state legislator from Chelmsford, who spearheaded the plan before his death in 1986. The Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail is a non-profit group with members from each of the towns which include portions of the planned trail. For more information about the project, see "Bruce Freeman Rail Trail project gathers steam," January 20, 2006, Mosquito, or visit the web site, www.brucefreemanrailtrail.org.
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