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Pittsfield Ashuwillticook Rail Trail Extension 80 Percent Complete
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
01:04PM / Sunday, October 10, 2021
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Paving began last week on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail's extension into Pittsfield was paved week and the project is said to be about 80 percent completed.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Paving began last week on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail's extension into Pittsfield.  It was paved in the week and the project is said to be about 80 percent completed.

The state has given a formal completion date of May 2022.

"The project is well underway, final paving actually happened earlier this week on the trail, so we are nearing completion," Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath told the Conservation Commission on Thursday.

"The completion date that has been established by the state is in May of 2022. But substantial components of the project have been completed."

The 1.56-mile extension will run south from the vicinity of the mall Connector Road to Crane Avenue. The trail will be a 10-feet wide, paved, shared-use path that is part of the trail system that currently runs nearly 13 miles through Lanesborough to Lime Street in Adams.

The Pittsfield leg travels along Route 8 for several hundred feet and then around the boundaries of Unistress Construction yard. It then goes back up to the former Housatonic Railroad rail bed and at that point stays on the old rail bed straight down to Crane Avenue.

It comes out at John's Building Supply at 1 Crane Ave. and there are plans for a new parking lot and restrooms constructed on the southern side of the street.  

McGrath approached the Conservation Commission representing the Department of Public Services to request a three-year extension of the Order of Conditions for activities associated with the bike trail.

He confirmed there are replication areas and plantings that have ongoing monitoring.

The panel unanimously voted to extend the Order of Conditions to Oct. 31, 2024.

This trail extension project is the result of many years of planning for a bike and pedestrian trail in Pittsfield that uses the former Housatonic Railroad corridor. The construction of this leg began in late 2020. 

It is the northern section of an overall city plan that continues the trail south through Pittsfield to Lenox and eventually through the rest of Berkshire County. A leg in Williamstown is currently under construction and a trail through North Adams is still in the planning stages.

The extension has been in the works for almost a decade. In 2012, the city had made a pitch for construction funding but did not secure it.

The state then followed shortly after with a $2.5 million allocation through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program for it.

The construction bid price for the new extension was $2,249,421.85 and was awarded to Maximilian Industries of Pittsfield in the fall of 2020.

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