Published in the March 21, 2018 edition


LYNNFIELD — The Recreational Path Committee (RPC) is hosting a public workshop on the proposed Wakefield-Lynnfield Rail Trail on Tuesday, March 27, beginning at 7 p.m. at Lynnfield Middle School.

The workshop is being held to familiarize residents with the project as well as gather feedback from residents. WorldTech Engineering, BETA Engineering and LEC Environmental are looking to gather information before the firm submits the 25 percent design of the trail to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) later this year.

Wakefield residents will be attending the forum as well as Lynnfield residents. Selectman Dick Dalton informed the Villager in a phone interview that a detail officer will be attending the workshop.

“It is important to note that the goal of the evening is to provide input on the design of the project,” said RPC Chairman Gerard Noumi in a press release. “This will not be a debate for whether you are a proponent or opponent to the construction of the project.”

The proposed project includes a multi-use trail utilizing an existing abandoned rail bed leased from the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) beginning in Wakefield in the vicinity of Main Street at the Bennett Street intersection and extending northerly to the Lynnfield town line, a distance of approximately 9,600 linear feet and then continuing in Lynnfield an additional distance of approximately 13,354 linear feet for a total project length of approximately 22,954 linear feet, totaling 4.35 miles. The project shall potentially include bikeway construction, access points at selected locations, parking areas, safety improvements at roadway crossings, new signs and pavement markings, and pedestrian and landscape enhancements.

While the rail trail was originally supposed to end at the Peabody city line, the RPC said its report “there is no direct access to a pubic road at that point.”

“A more logical terminus for this phase of the project may be either at Pillings Pond Road or at Lynnfield High School,” the RPC wrote in its report. “Both screening and the terminus are important topics for the information and design workshop planned by the committee.”

The RPC stated in its report “the proposed project continues to undergo initial design under the direction of MassDOT.”

“The work, which is nearly completed, is being performed by a team led by the engineering consultant WorldTech,” said the RPC in its report. “A draft 25 percent design was released for DOT review in March 2017. The 25 percent design package included preliminary engineering design of the trail, an environmental notification and certain design details such as road crossings.

“DOT has provided the design team with comments,” the RPC continued. “The design team has provided responses and a meeting to resolve any outstanding issues was held January 23, 2018. DOT will hold a public hearing on the 25 percent design in spring 2018. The purpose of the hearing is to receive input intended to improve on the design at this early engineering stage.”