Salisbury rail trail bridge on schedule for July completion

MIKE SPRINGER/Staff photoWork on the rail trail pedestrian bridge over Route 1 in Salisbury nears completion.

SALISBURY — Cyclists and pedestrians should be able to quickly and safely cross over Route 1 by midsummer.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation erected a prebuilt pedestrian/bike bridge over Route 1 at True Road and Gerrish Road in August.

Coastal Trails Coalition Director Jerry Klima said construction of the bridge should be finished by July.

“I believe the contract dictates that the project is done at some time in July, so there is no doubt that it will be done,” Klima said. “In fact, they just did some paving on the ramps over the past few days. So they are very close.”

The pedestrian/bike bridge is part of the Coastal Trails Coalition system of rail trails that run through Newburyport, Newbury, Amesbury, Salisbury and soon up to the North End connector in Seabrook, New Hampshire.

“That is going to connect the Marsh Trail to Seabrook,” Klima said. “That can only come together because of the cooperation between the Town of Seabrook, the Coastal Trails Coalition and the Friends of the Seabrook Rail Trail. The Seabrook Firemen’s Association also donated a trail easement.”

Klima said a rampway leading to Route 110 and Route 1 still needs a bit of work in Amesbury and some work needs to be done near Lion’s Park in Salisbury, but most of the rail trail network has been completed in the area.

“The whole section from north of the bridge up to New Hampshire is finished as far as I can tell,” Klima said. “There is not a lot more work that needs to be done north of here. There might be some grass to plant but there is nothing significant at all.”

Klima said the state and the Coastal Trails Coalition completed the first section of the Marsh Trail in 2010, work on the Ghost Trail was completed in Salisbury in 2012 and the Gillis Bridge connector was opened to the public in 2013.

“You also have the (John Greenleaf Whittier Bridge) opening up in 2018 and we have the Ghost Trail section in Amesbury just finishing this year, too,” Klima said.

Klima added that the COVID-19 pandemic gave many people in the area a chance to get to know the rail trails and they appear to like what they see.

“The trails really ended up making meaning a lot to people during COVID-19,” Klima said. “They gave them a chance to get out.”

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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