For Immediate Release - October 11, 2012

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION CELEBRATE GROUNDBREAKING OF BLACKSTONE GREENWAY PROJECT

BLACKSTONE – Thursday, October 11, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Ed Lambert and other state and local officials to break ground on Segment 1 of the Blackstone River Greenway Project.

The $20 million project will create a greenway corridor from Worcester to Providence, Rhode Island, connecting historic and cultural sites, natural resources, recreation facilities, and commercial and residential areas. 

“The Blackstone River Greenway project will help us continue to celebrate the rich natural and cultural history of the Blackstone Valley while providing economic development for surrounding communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “I would like to thank our public, private and legislative partners for their efforts in getting this project underway.”

Once completed, the corridor will total 48 miles in length, with the Commonwealth’s section of the greenway covering 28.5 miles. Segment 1 will begin at the Rhode Island border and stretch up through Blackstone, Millville, and Uxbridge – for a total length of 4.2 miles. 

“Reflecting environmental responsibility and sustainability, this project also exemplifies Governor Patrick’s and Lieutenant Governor Murray’s commitment to improving the recreational infrastructure across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Sullivan. “Today is the culmination of a vision that dates back three decades and, once completed, this greenway will be enjoyed for generations.”

DCR and MassDOT have partnered in planning and design of the Massachusetts portion of this greenway for more than a decade. In 1996, a study undertaken by the two agencies produced a plan for seven segments of trail. 

"MassDOT is pleased to see this vision finally become a reality. The Blackstone Greenway will provide new recreational and commuting opportunities for miles through a corridor steeped in history and nature," said Richard A. Davey, MassDOT Secretary and CEO. "Additionally, this greenway represents our continued focus on healthy transportation alternatives that take people out of their cars, reducing congestion and air pollution.”

“The Blackstone River Greenway will be an incredible recreational resource for the Commonwealth, as well as an amazing opportunity for visitors to New England to take in all the natural beauty we have to offer,” said Commissioner Lambert.

In 1997, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Department of Transportation began work on the first Rhode Island segment of the corridor.

Rhode Island has made significant progress on their proposed 20-mile section – from the Massachusetts border to Providence.  They have completed and opened 10 miles of multi-use recreational path between Valley Falls Heritage Park in Cumberland and River’s Edge Park in Woonsocket.

The multi-use greenway will be ten feet wide, with two-foot shoulders on either side, compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The design will also include landscaping and interpretive elements.

“The development of this bike trail displays the Commonwealth's continued dedication to green travel,” said Sen. Marc Pacheco, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “It represents a smart alternative for those citizens who wish to use a more environmentally-friendly method of transportation.” 

“Today’s groundbreaking is an important step in the Blackstone River Greenway project,” said Sen. Richard Moore. “While just the beginning of a critical interstate connection, segment one will provide scores of residents and visitors with a worthwhile recreational opportunity along the Blackstone River and historic canal, and contribute to the Valley’s growing eco-tourism industry. Many thanks to all who have joined in advocating for this long-awaited project, especially DCR, which has significantly contributed to the planning process.”

Statewide, more than $50 million is being invested in linear greenway corridors across the Commonwealth, being developed by MassDOT and DCR, often in partnership with the federal government. In addition to the $20 million for Segment 1 of the greenway, these projects include:       

  • $15 million for the North Bank Bridge on the Charles River linking Boston and Charlestown.
  • $4 million for the Alewife Greenway connecting the Mystic River to the Minuteman Bikepath and the Alewife T Station.
  • $8 million for the Nonantum Road Charles River parkland and pathway restoration.
  • $4.5 million for full restoration of DCR’s Norwottuck Rail Trail in Northampton, Hadley and Amherst.
  • $2 million for the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail in Westfield.

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