By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The rail trail project moves on.
The 75 percent design of the Wakefield-Lynnfield Rail Trail is scheduled to be finished in the spring of 2023, Lynnfield Town Administrator Rob Dolan said last week.
The 4.4 mile rail trail will begin at the Main Street and Bennett Street intersection in Wakefield near the Galvin Middle School, extend north through Lynnfield and will go to the Peabody line. A portion of the rail trail would go through Reedy Meadow via an elevated boardwalk. The Wakefield component of the trail will be 1.8 miles while Lynnfield’s will be 2.5 miles.
Dolan recalled that engineering firm WorldTech has submitted the rail trail’s 25 percent design to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for review.
“The 4.4-mile Wakefield-Lynnfield Rail Trail continues to progress,” said Dolan. “WorldTech is working towards completing and submitting the 75 percent design to MassDOT in May 2023. BETA Engineering is working on the hydraulic study, which will determine if there are any significant environmental impacts associated with this project. BETA Engineering will also prepare many of the structural and landscaping items, some of which were included for preliminary review in the 25 percent design submittal. LEC Associates will have the primary responsibility for permitting, which will commence in 2022.”
Dolan said federal and state agencies as well as the Lynnfield Conservation Commission will be required to issue permits for constructing the rail trail since a portion of it will be built in Reedy Meadow.
“Due to the proposed trail being installed through Reedy Meadow, there will be numerous permits required by federal, state and local agencies,” said Dolan. “Funding for this project is primarily through the State Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) which, working with MassDOT, provides review and guidance through the entirety of the project.”
Dolan anticipates that the Wakefield-Lynnfield Rail Trail will go out to bid in November 2024.
“We look forward to providing updates as this import project progresses,” said Dolan.
Despite the economic impact caused by the pandemic, Dolan said during a June episode of “Town Talk” that MassDOT still has rail trail projects “front and center on their agenda.”
A Special Town Meeting held in September 2019 approved allocating $348,000 for the rail trail’s final design by a 585-380 vote, which occurred more than five months after the rail trail was approved 1,859 votes to 1,679 votes during the April 2019 Town Election. The rail trail previously passed the 2017 April Town Meeting by a 342-341 vote.
National Grid paved the first layer of a one-mile section of the rail trail from Vernon Street to the Galvin Middle School in Wakefield last spring. National Grid undertook that component of the project as part of an ongoing transmission line improvement project in Wakefield.