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Salisbury, Gillis Rail Trail Connector, May 17, 2013MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola joined state and local officials, as well as bicycling and walking advocates to celebrate Bay State Bike Week 2013 with the opening of the Gillis Rail Trail Connector in Salisbury. The connection links existing bicycling and walking paths in Salisbury and Newburyport.

“MassDOT is pleased to promote the healthy transportation modes of walking, bicycling and transit. The growing network of shared use paths in this region make it easier for residents and visitors alike to walk and bicycle in comfort and safety, and to connect with transit, such as at the Newburyport MTBA Commuter Rail station,” said Administrator DePaola.

The completion of the $1 million project adds a new piece to the Bay State Greenway, which is a growing network that hopes to establish 788 miles of bicycling facilities across the Commonwealth. So far, more than 150 miles have been established.

The project also supports MassDOT’s GreenDOT and Mode Shift policies, as well as the Healthy Transportation Compact. The policies and initiatives work to balance the needs of all transportation users, expand mobility, improve public health, support a cleaner environment and create stronger communities.

Later this year, MassDOT will begin construction to replace the Whittier Bridge on Interstate 95. While construction will use innovative, accelerated techniques to better accommodate vehicle traffic, the project also allows for the construction of the first separate shared use path for pedestrians and bicyclists on an Interstate in Massachusetts and will provide a direct bicycling and walking link to the park & ride facility on Route 133.

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