by Catherine Cagle
Manager of Sustainable Transportation
Today I'm excited to let people know that the Patrick Administration has awarded $500,000 in Transportation Enhancements funding for final design of phase 2A of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.
Phase 2A of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail will extend approximately 4.8 miles from the end of Phase 1 BFRT in Westford, south through Westford, Carlisle and Acton. The towns of Westford, Carlisle and Acton completed the preliminary design to qualify for Transportation Enhancements funding for the final design; once that is completed and approved, Phase 2A will be ready for construction.
On August 20, 2009, residents and community groups celebrated the opening of Phase 1 of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (BFRT), a 6.8 mile shared-use path that connects Lowell, Chelmsford and Westford. As someone who bikes to work and recreationally I am always excited to see paths like this open — not only because they provide great opportunity for people to excercise but also because they make important connections between communities. Since the grand opening of Phase 1 use on the path has exploded and led to many rave reviews. We hope that many of these people are excited as we are that Phase 2A design will moving forward thanks to Transportation Enhancements funding.
In case you were wondering, the Transportation Enhancements program is a federal program that funds community-based projects with the goal of increasing travel choice and improving the cultural and environmental character of the transportation system. Eligible TE projects fall into 12 categories such as bicycle and pedestrian facilities, streetscape improvements, historic transportation facilities, cultural facilities, and environmental improvements for the transportation system. Transportation Enhancement funding supports important non-traditional and innovative transportation infrastructure projects that might not otherwise obtain funding. We haven't always done the best job awarded TE funding and we're currently working to improve the program to speed up investments in critical bike and pedestrian projects. For example, the Patrick Administration recently committed to increasing TE funding from $500,000 to $3.5M and formed a joint task force with highway officials to streamline project delivery and construction timelines.
You should know that we view pedestrian and bicycling improvements are an especially high priority as the Commonwealth seeks to expand healthy travel options and sustainable transportation.
Governor Patrick Announces Knowledge Corridor Line Purchase posted on Aug 20
Governor Deval Patrick today announced an agreement in principle allowing the Commonwealth to purchase the Knowledge Corridor rail line between East Northfield and Springfield from Pan Am Southern, a joint venture of Pan Am and Norfolk Southern. The 49-mile segment of rail is currently undergoing …Continue Reading Governor Patrick Announces Knowledge Corridor Line Purchase
Morton Street Bridge Opens Ahead of Schedule posted on Aug 19
MassDOT announced the successful opening of the new Morton Street Bridge in Mattapan more than a full day ahead of the already accelerated schedule. The original structurally deficient bridge carrying Morton Street over the MBTA commuter rail tracks closed on Friday, August 8 for final …Continue Reading Morton Street Bridge Opens Ahead of Schedule
Berkley: Padelford Street Bridge Opens posted on Aug 18
MassDOT’s Highway Division Administrator Frank DePaola today joined state and local officials in celebrating the opening of the new Padelford Street Bridge in Berkley. The $5.65 million project used fast track “Design Build” rapid construction techniques to replace the bridge structure. The result: a limited …Continue Reading Berkley: Padelford Street Bridge Opens