The Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT) is an envisioned 104-mile off-road shared use trail connecting Boston to Northampton along the former Central Massachusetts Railroad corridor. Today, approximately 50 miles of the vision have been realized as fully developed rail trail.
The MCRT – Wayside:
In 2011, The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) executed a lease with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) for 23 miles of the former railroad corridor from Waltham to Berlin for the purpose of designing and developing a multi-use rail trail in partnership with the local municipalities. Since 2011, DCR has been working with communities and partners to develop a 10-foot wide shared use path along this entire corridor. The corridor passes through Waltham, Weston, Wayland, Sudbury, and Hudson with in Bolton and Stowe. It will one day connect east to Belmont and Boston, and west to Clinton and beyond to Northampton.
The MCRT Sudbury to Hudson DCR-Eversource Partnership Project is in the final stages of permitting and is expected to go to Phase 1 construction in the spring of 2022.
DCR is at 25% design of the connecting section between Wayland Town Center and the Eversource substation in Sudbury.
The City of Waltham has released a construction bid to construct the MCRT from the 1265 Main Street development in Waltham east to Beaver Street.
DCR is about to advance the design and permitting of the connection between 1265 Main development and the open MCRT in Weston.
The MCRT Sudbury to Hudson DCR-Eversource Partnership Project is proceeding through local and state permitting and final design. This
project, being constructed in two phases, will result in an additional 7.5 miles of MCRT from the Sudbury Eversource Substation to Wilkens Street and the Assabet River Rail Trail in Hudson.
DCR is also proceeding to 25% design of the connection between the Wayland Town Center and the Sudbury Substation.
MCRT-Wayside Weston and Wayland OPENED! DCR, partner communities, and Eversource celebrated the opening of 5 miles of the MCRT–Wayside in Weston and Wayland.
The Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) released their decision approving the Eversource transmission project connecting the electric sub-station in Sudbury to Wilkins Street in Hudson.
The MCRT Wayside is Coming! In partnership with Eversource Energy and the Towns of Weston and Wayland, DCR is constructing approximately 4.5 miles of the MCRT – Wayside in Weston and Wayland. DCR is also advancing design and permitting for a new rail trail underpass at Conant Road in Weston.
The Towns of Weston and Wayland are also working to plan addition trail parking, trailheads and other amenities on this section.
Waltham, working with Pare Engineering, has advanced the design and permitting of their 3-mile section of the MCRT–Wayside from the former Polaroid site at 1265 Main Street east to Beaver Street.
DCR continues to coordinate with Eversource Energy as they plan to install a new underground transmission line along the corridor in Sudbury and Hudson. Once completed, this project would add an additional 7.5 miles of the MCRT–Wayside.
The Mass Central Rail Trail–Wayside project is making progress in several communities.
This fall, the Town of Wayland built their first section of the trail from the Wayland Depot to Wayland Town Center.
In both Weston and Wayland, DCR is in discussions with Eversource Energy and the municipalities to develop a public-private partnership which will soon result in the construction and paving of the multi-use rail trail from Wayland Town Center through the town of Weston. One complication we will still have to overcome is a filled underpass at Conant Road in Weston.
The City of Waltham is seeking to advance design and permitting of the MCRT–Wayside in their community using local funds.
Finally, DCR is closely tracking a separate proposal by Eversource Energy, which is proposing a potential new transmission project that would involve the MCRT – Wayside corridor in Sudbury and Hudson.
DCR has establish path development guidelines for working in partnership with communities, and presented and discussed these at a community key stakeholders meeting in November, facilitated by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
DCR has been working to set up meetings with various community boards and commissions along the MCRT – Wayside corridor to provide updates on the proposed project, and listen to community questions, desires, issues and concerns along the corridor. At this time, state funding for the next stages of design and construction have not been identified. Several local communities are exploring options for partnering with DCR to move the project forward.
On January 10, 2014 the Secretary of Energy and Environmental affairs issued a MEPA Certificate for the MCRT – Wayside. This certificate, among other things, found that the project as proposed did not require further review under MEPA.
DCR filed an Expanded Environmental Notification Form (EENF) with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office on November 15. The EENF describes the existing conditions, proposed project, potential environmental impacts, project benefits, and efforts to avoid, minimize and mitigate any environmental impacts.