BOURNE –The Bourne Rail Trail project recently received a $499,000 state grant that will help finance design and engineering work for phases 1 and 4 of the project, a proposed 6.5-mile path connecting the Shining Sea Bikeway in North Falmouth to the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway.
The Baker-Polito administration awarded $11.4 million in funding through the MassTrails Grant Program on June 28 to support 81 trail improvement projects to expand and connect the state’s network of trails.
Lt. Gov. Karen Polito announced the awards in a ceremony at Wharf Street Park in Milton attended by Bourne Town Administrator Marlene McCollem and Bourne Engineering Technician Tim Lydon, who works with the Advisory Committee on Pedestrian and Bicycle Pathways.
The town will submit “eligible invoices and the state will reimburse the cost,” McCollem told Bourne selectmen.
Rail Trail Project has four phases
Phase 1 of the project is planned from the Tidal Flats Overlook at the canal railroad bridge to the rail crossing at Monument Neck Road, Gray Gables.
Phase 2 would cross Back River at Monument Beach.
Phase 3 has not yet been determined. Planners must determine how the trail would cross the massive Pocasset marsh at the upper reaches of the Pocasset River.
Phase 4 would extend from Shipyard Lane at the entrance to the Kingman Yacht Center at Red Brook Harbor, Cataumet, past Post Office Square to the North Falmouth line.
New path could boost business
The project has long been billed as a way to get bicyclists off winding and dangerous Shore Road, improve property values along the path, help local businesses such as those in downtown Monument Beach and add a final link to the overall bicycling plan to connect Woods Hole with Provincetown.
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Along with tangible results, there are concerns. They include private property impacts, bicyclists and pedestrians gaining access to the path across back lawns, disruption of wildlife corridors and the issue of rail bed fencing installed for safety and trespassing considerations.
Committee members and rail trail enthusiasts have praised the rail trail work of former Assistant Town Administrator Glenn Cannon, now the town manager at Rochester.
The project has also received support from the Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail, a volunteer-based, nonprofit. Information about the Bourne Rail Trail can be found at its site at www.bournerailtrail.org.