Friday, September 11, 2009
It’s official: first segment of Bruce Freeman Rail Trail opens
After well over 20 years of effort by many area advocates and friends, the 6.8-mile first segment of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail through Westford, Chelmsford, and Lowell was officially opened on Saturday, August 29. The second segment, not yet under construction,
will run through Acton, Concord, Sudbury and a small corner of Carlisle. The third segment, presently in the planning stage, will extend to Framingham. The total length of the Rail Trail when completed will be 26 miles.
MassHighway Commissioner Luisa Paiewonsky joined local legislators, the Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, and about 400 enthusiastic residents of the towns along the trail for the opening ceremonies, which were held indoors at the Old Town Hall in Chelmsford, thanks to Hurricane Danny.
Construction of the $5.35 million first phase was overseen by the Massachusetts Highway Department. The multi-use path is built along an abandoned rail line from the Chelmsford/Lowell line at Cross Point (formerly the Wang Towers) through Chelmsford Center and South Chelmsford to Route 225 in Westford at the intersection of Route 27, just to the west of the Carlisle border. Construction included earthwork, landscaping, reconstruction of four bridge structures, and installation of chain link and wood rail fences. The asphalt trail is ten feet wide with two feet of packed shoulder on each side, and is open to cycling, jogging, walking, and skiing. It passes through woods, wetlands, open fields and shopping areas. Lowell’s S&R Corporation was the contractor.
Trail parking lots
• The Old Town Hall, 4 North Road, Chelmsford Center
• Behind the Sovereign Bank, 5 Billerica Road, Chelmsford Center
• Byam School (during non-school hours), 25 Maple Road, South Chelmsford
• Chelmsford Town Land, 2 Pond St. (near Baptist Pond), South Chelmsford
Additional parking areas are being planned along the southern portion of the trail, closer to Carlisle.
For more information on the trail, see the Friends’ website: www.brucefreemanrailtrail.org. ∆
© 2009 The