NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 28, 2014

Enthusiasm grows for South End's rail trail

NEWBURYPORT — City, regional and state officials met this week to update residents on the progress of Rail Trail, Part 2, and leaders indicated that everything is on track.

RailTrail2 is an expansion of the original rail trail, an active thoroughfare that offers walking and biking from near the MBTA station off Boston Road to the riverfront.

The opening of RailTrail2, estimated to cost about $3.1 million, is still many months away, but no bumps in the road have been identified by planners, according to testimony at the Wednesday night meeting.

And it appears that the second part has characteristics of a win-win situation; to wit, the federal government is paying 80 percent and the state is paying 20 percent of most costs.

The city will be responsible for securing some rights-of-way, but it appears that much of the new trail will be paid by other agencies.

“This is a great opportunity for the city,” said Mayor Donna Holaday at the meeting, attended by about 40 residents, some of them abutters to the new trail.

“The rail trail that is active now has been appreciated by so many people, and we are working to make Part 2 as successful.”

The new trail, to stretch about 1.5 miles, begins on Parker Street in Newbury, following a long-abandoned rail bed that used to connect the Newburyport waterfront to the main B&M rail line.

It will run through woods and fields, and will pass through a segment of the land that makes up March’s Hill on High Street.

After running under High Street, the 10-foot wide macadam path will traverse streets including Bromfield Court, Chestnut Street, Hancock Street and Purchase Street before arriving on turf near Water Street.

Some of the most complicated rights-of-way are being negotiated on riverfront land with such organizations as National Grid and the U.S. Coast Guard.

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