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Here's where the 'well loved' Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is heading next in Pittsfield

Delineation of Pittsfield Phase II of Ashuwillitcook Rail Trail extension

This map shows the 0.4-mile Phase II section of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail extension in Pittsfield, from Crane Avenue to Merrill Road.

PITTSFIELD — The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail will roll along a little farther into Pittsfield this year.

City leaders say they hope to see state contractors push the trail about a half mile west from its resting place at Dalton Avenue down Merrill Road sometime this summer.

The extension will take pedestrians and bike riders behind the Shops at Unkamet Brook, to a wetland overlook and a new trailhead with 11 parking spaces off the south side Merrill Road.

If the timeline goes as planned, crews will complete their work and open the next section in the spring or summer of 2024.

The new section of trail will include a pedestrian-activated hybrid beacon signal at Merrill Road, native tree and vegetation plantings and a rest area with benches, bicycle racks and trail information. The project is funded through the Federal Highway Administration and the state’s Transportation Improvement Program. The construction portion of the project is estimated to cost $1.5 million.

Jim McGrath, the city’s open space, parks and natural resource program manager, said over the next months he and city staff will work with the state to bring this addition to the finish line.

On Tuesday, the project took another step forward as the City Council approved the taking of five temporary easements to allow for the construction of the 10-foot-wide path.

cyclists on trail
Russ Sears fixes a flat tire
cyclists on trail
cyclists prepare for ride
Couple ride together

The city will use $17,355 for the right to access property owned by Pitex Limited Partnership around the proposed trail. Access to three other parcels owned by WJK Realty LLC, O’Connell Oil Associates and General Electric was donated to the city.

In two weeks, the city will submit a notice of intent application for wetlands work associated with the project to the Conservation Commission. That meeting is scheduled for Feb. 9.

McGrath said the city is working to have all the environmental permitting for the project completed before May 6, the tentative date state officials have selected to start bidding the project.

“The city is excited to be able to see the Ashuwillticook extension realized and we’re pleased we’ve been able to partner with the state on this great recreation enhancement,” McGrath said.

McGrath said the last extension of the trail, from Lanesborough to Crane Avenue, has quickly become “one of the most heavily used recreational amenities in the city.”

“It’s being used and well loved,” he added.

When the trail reaches Merrill Road, it will have traversed over 14 miles from Adams through Cheshire, Lanesborough and into Pittsfield.

Meg Britton-Mehlisch can be reached at mbritton@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6149.

Pittsfield Reporter

Meg Britton-Mehlisch is the Pittsfield reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, she previously worked at the Prior Lake American and its sister publications under the Southwest News Media umbrella in Savage, Minnesota.

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