ACTON- Friday, June 18, 2010 – As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Massachusetts Works program promoting job growth long-term economic recovery, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and and State Senator Jamie Eldridge today announced funding to design a major expansion of the popular Bruce Freeman Rail Trail through Westford, Carlisle, Acton and Concord.
The $931,500 in capital funds will design the next two phases of the Freeman Rail Trail, the first of which will extend the trail south by an additional nearly five miles.
“This strategic investment in designing the expansion of the Freeman Trail will enhance the transportation and recreational infrastructure in the region, providing long term healthy transportation benefits to the residents of Acton, Westford, Carlisle and the many people in the surrounding communities who use and enjoy the Trail,” said Governor Deval Patrick.
“As part of our administration’s transportation reform we have committed to improve service within all transportation systems in the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “Today’s announced design funding for the expansion of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail is another example of infrastructure improvements that will offer our residents increased recreational and healthy transportation opportunities in the region.”
“As we continue under Governor Patrick’s leadership to make improvements to bicycle and pedestrian access, recreational trails such as the Freeman are an important part of our investment strategy to support healthy transportation options,” said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Jeffrey Mullan.
“The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, the product of many years of work of local municipal staff, elected officials, and of course the Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, has been a popular destination for bikers and pedestrians alike, providing a scenic and safe alternate transit option for local residents. The additional funding announced today will help us take the next step forward in extending this project into Acton, Carlisle, Concord, and Westford, making it accessible for many more biking enthusiasts. In making this grant, the Patrick-Murray Administration continues to show its strong support for alternative transportation programs that increase the quality of living in all of our communities,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton.
“This event marks over two decades of citizen and government partnership, hard work, and devotion to a trail that will help protect our environment from harmful emissions, encourage healthy lifestyles, and knit our communities together. What a proud day this is for us to share,” said State Representative Cory Atkins.
“This addition to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail expands transportation and recreation opportunities for families in Acton and will benefit the community for generations to come,” said State Representative Jennifer Benson.
The funds will design the next two phases of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail from the end of the current trail through Westford and Lowell south through Westford, Carlisle, Acton and Concord, including construction of a 10-12 foot paved asphalt multi-use trail, construction of a pedestrian bridge over Route 2A/119, and rehabilitation of six existing rail bridges along the Trail. A segment of the trail crossing Route 2 will be designed with the Concord Rotary Project. In October 2009, the Patrick Administration awarded an additional $500,000 in “Transportation Enhancements” funding to support final design of phase 2A of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.
The estimated construction cost of the first phase of Trail expansion through Acton, Westford, and Carlisle is $7.7 million.
Together, investment in roads and bridges has grown from $515 million in FY 2007 to a projected $1.1 billion in FY 2010. The road and bridge construction program will support more than 10,000 jobs on 385 separate projects across the Commonwealth. Additionally, MassDOT has reduced the time from construction contract advertisement to construction start from 218 days in 2008 to 124 days in 2009 – a more than 43 percent drop in wait time. For ARRA projects, the timeline from construction contract advertisement to notice to proceed was reduced to 48 days, allowing MassDOT to put people to work on construction projects faster than ever before.
To learn more about Massachusetts Works, visit www.mass.gov/governor/massworks. For additional information on how the Patrick-Murray Administration’s agenda has led Massachusetts out of a global recession faster and stronger than the rest of the nation, visit www.mass.gov/governor/agenda.
MassDOT is the new, unified transportation organization created in 2009 under the historic reform legislation passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick. MassDOT’s four divisions are focused on delivering safe and efficient transportation services across the Commonwealth. For transportation news and updates, visit the MassDOT website at www.mass.gov/massdot, the MassDOT blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.