Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack joined Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, elected officials, municipal leaders, MassDOT staff, rail trail advocates and members of the public for a ribbon cutting event to celebrate the completion of the latest segment of the Assabet River Rail Trail in Acton and Maynard.

Through this project, 3.4 miles of new multi-use rail trail were constructed, and bridges at Tobin Park in Maynard and Mill Pond in Acton were replaced. This rail trail links the downtown Maynard business district with the South Acton MBTA Commuter Rail Station and the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, providing an alternative transportation option for people throughout these communities. The first 4 mile phase of the trail from Marlboro to Hudson was completed in 2005.

Secretary Pollack speaking at the ribbon cutting event for the latest segment of the Assabet River Rail Trail in Acton [Submitted Photo]

“MassDOT is pleased to have completed this new section of the Assabet River Rail Trail so that people in these local neighborhoods can bike, walk, or use other active forms of transportation to reach the places they need to be,” said Secretary Pollack. “By strengthening our trails network, we can provide more options for travelers, better connect people to transit services, promote healthy and environmentally friendly forms of transportation, and allow residents and commuters to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Commonwealth.”

“We are proud to have constructed this multimodal trail and provided another option for people who are traveling throughout these communities,” said Highway Administrator Gulliver. “We appreciate the hard work of the MassDOT crews, contractors, designers, and planners who have carried out this project, and thank the community and local leaders for their assistance and support during this process.”

Construction activities began in 2016 and included constructing a 12-foot wide paved surface with two-foot shoulders, installing traffic control measures at roadway crossings, replacing existing bridges in Acton and Maynard, and installing new boardwalk in Acton.

Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has constructed or funded 150 miles of paved trails, adding to the current statewide inventory of 565 miles of paved trails. Over 30 miles of trails spanning over a dozen projects are currently expected to be completed across the Commonwealth in 2018.

In 2017, Governor Baker established an Interagency Trails Team which is led by the Governor’s office and is comprised of staff from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The purpose of the team is to help develop a unified vision for a trails network and translate that into strategic investments, policy innovation to facilitate the development of trails, and an enhanced relationship with municipal partners.

MassDOT’s 5-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP) sets aside $160 million for multi-use pathways as well as $60 million for high-priority projects through the statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Plans that are currently being completed. Other efforts to strengthen multimodal transportation include the Administration’s Complete Streets Funding Program, which has awarded over $23 million to municipalities throughout the Commonwealth to build pedestrian and bicycle accommodations.