Natick’s plan to build its segment of the Cochituate Rail Trail recently cleared a major remaining hurdle when the state Department of Transportation approved the project to be constructed this year.
Provided federal officials certify the town has completed design and secured needed rights-of-way, the state will move forward with advertising for construction bids in mid-September, according to Jamie Errickson, Natick’s director of community and economic development.
The Natick rail trail section had been on the state’s multi-year transportation project list for this region, but the transportation department’s action moves it to actual construction.
“This is going to be a fantastic development for the town that will connect thousands of existing and soon-to-be-created jobs, several neighborhoods in Natick Center, Natick Mall, and entertainment sites,” Errickson said. “So it’s very exciting to have this come to fruition.”
The overall trail when completed will extend just over four miles along a former freight rail bed from Natick Center to Framingham’s Saxonville neighborhood. The Framingham section of the 12-foot wide path has been completed.
Natick purchased its approximately two-mile segment in 2016 with $6 million authorized by Town Meeting.
Since then, Natick designed and acquired rights of way for its trail segment, covering much of the $1.2 million cost with payments from private developers to mitigate their project impacts.
The estimated $12 million to $14 million in construction costs will be funded entirely with federal and state dollars.
In addition to paving the trail, the project’s major features include rebuilding an existing trestle bridge over Route 9 and constructing a new bridge over Route 30. Construction could start as early as spring 2019 and should take about two years.John Laidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.