LANESBOROUGH — Folks looking to clear their heads of all the coronavirus gloom and doom with a walk on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail might be disappointed to find that, too, is closed — or at least part of it.
The southernmost section of the popular recreation path, including the trailhead on Route 8 in Lanesborough, was closed to bikes and pedestrians Monday as early phases of construction got underway.
Sections of the trail will be closed over the next two summers to allow for a $3.2 million resurfacing project.
According to information provided by Massachusetts Department of Transportation spokeswoman Judith Reardon Riley, the Phase I closing extends from the U.S. Route 7-Route 8 Connector Road parking area to Church Street in Cheshire. Phase I is expected to be completed in July.
Phase II is expected to start in mid-July, resulting in a closed trail from Church Street in Cheshire to Hoosac Street in Adams next to the Adams Visitors Center, and it should reopen in late autumn. Other peripheral work will occur in spring 2021, with completion expected in May 2021.
The trail in Lanesborough and Cheshire was completed in 2001. The trail in Cheshire and Adams was completed in 2003.
The work will focus on the resurfacing and reconstruction of a section of the trail in the towns of Adams, Cheshire and Lanesborough. The project spans 10.8 miles.
All work is to be performed on property owned by or under the control of the state.
The process includes micro-milling and resurfacing of the existing trail, as well as selective tree removal; repair of damage from roots and erosion; replacement of existing pedestrian signal heads, signal posts and push buttons; replacement of wood railings and fences as necessary; sign and pavement marking improvements at street crossings; cleaning of drainage pipes, loam and seed of disturbed areas; and other miscellaneous work.
A representative for the contractor, JH Maxymillian, said work is continuing despite the COVID-19 outbreak.
"As of today [MassDOT] has not suspended any of our projects," spokeswoman Hillery Maximillian said in an email.
Scott Stafford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-629-4517.