BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that it is continuing to move forward with the project to construct the Worcester Blackstone Gateway Visitor Center and the adjacent multi-use path in the City of Worcester.

A Notice to Proceed (NTP) was recently awarded for Phase II of this project which will allow the contractor to start construction this spring on a multi-use facility that will house the Blackstone Gateway Visitor Center and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Region Headquarters and mark the completion of the Quinsigamond Bike Spur that connects the facility to the Blackstone Bike Path and the Route 146 pedestrian bridge. The path will also include a historic truss style pedestrian bridge.

“I am very pleased this project is proceeding forward and that construction on the second phase will soon begin,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “This project is a nice mix of features which contain cultural and historic value while at the same time having a practical purpose of creating a multi-use path for the public to enjoy on bike or on foot.”

“I’d like to thank everyone who collaborated on this important project,” said Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “This is an example of members of the public and outdoor enthusiasts working together with government officials on a comprehensive construction project which will provide many benefits to people in Worcester County.”

“With a new Worcester Blackstone Gateway Visitor Center to serve its many park users across central Massachusetts, the DCR looks forward to utilizing this multi-use center for all the services that our agency provides to the public day after day,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “Whether protecting Massachusetts’s natural resources or assisting in infrastructure repairs, our staff will use this regional headquarters to continue their mission of serving park users and residents alike.”

“Today marks a big victory for both families and businesses in Worcester and throughout the region,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “Assuring that the federal funding secured for this project be utilized for the benefit of the community has been a major priority for me. I am grateful that the residents of the Quinsigamond Village neighborhood continue to be enthusiastic supporters of this project. Over the years, this project has had the benefit of so many strong partners across local, state and federal government, all of whom can be proud that we have reached this milestone.”

“Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and the local officials who collaborated together on this project,” said State Senator Ryan C. Fattman (R-Webster). “The Worcester Blackstone Visitor Center project is a great example of how the state, local and federal governments can work together to create real change and promote outdoor and recreational policies.”

The first phase of construction involved early action work including site grading, soil remediation, site cleanup, and canal wall repairs. The second phase of the project that is expected to be completed in July 2018 is estimated to cost $14.9 million and is being funded by federal and state sources.

The Worcester Blackstone Gateway Visitor Center will be a full service, multi-use facility, featuring a welcoming area, historic and cultural exhibits, a theater, restroom facilities, an adjacent lawn, and office, classroom and meeting space.

The multi-use path will accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians and travel through a Heritage Corridor adjacent to the building which includes exhibits as well as observation areas over the water on the new truss style pedestrian bridge crossing the canal. Over the bridge, a pavilion area will double as a photovoltaic array supplementing much of the future site electrical costs.

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