, Newburyport, MA

March 26, 2013

South End rail trail to be discussed April 11

Newburyport Daily News

---- — NEWBURYPORT — A public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at City Hall to discuss preliminary design for Phase II of the Clipper City Rail Trail.

City officials say the Merrimack Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization has scheduled the project to be advertised for construction in fiscal year 2015, and the project requires a lengthy design, review and permitting process prior to construction. Fiscal year 2015 begins on July 1, 2014, and ends June 30, 2015.

Phase II of the project will extend the trail about 1.5 miles, according to city officials.

The rail trail is designed as a multi-use paved trail for pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair users, strollers, skaters, scooters, skateboarders, dog-walkers, etc., and will serve people of all ages and all abilities.

The trail will have multiple access points from different streets and neighborhoods so that it will be easily accessible, city officials say.

The project has been identified in a number of Newburyport’s community plans, including the Master Plan, Open Space Plan and Waterfront Strategic Plan.

The City Branch railroad was abandoned in the ’60s and the corridor has become overgrown and subject to dumping and some encroachment. Organizers say it is time to continue the project.

For the past 15 years, the city has been working toward establishing the trail. It secured initial easements in the late 1990s and purchased most of the corridor from the B&M Railroad in 2006.

The design phase has so far included survey, soil borings, structural and geo-technical analysis.

For more information, the contact is Geordie Vining, senior project manager, at 978-465-4400.