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Commuters Anticipate Re-Opening of Norwottuck Rail Trail


NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) – The 11 mile bike trail from Northampton to Belchertown has been under construction and closed for months

Now, a knocked down gate blocks the entrance of the Norwottuck Rail Trail in Northampton. Runners,

dog-walkers and bikers just cant wait for it to reopen.

“I’m excited and impatient its been a long long time coming,” says rider Alex Kent of Amherst.

He is a daily commuter and one who rides in all elements. The trail has been under construction since last fall and through the winter. In the meantime, Alex has taken alternate routes.

“Crossing the bridge, Route 9 wherever I can go. It’s been really inconvenient,” Kent says.

Project leaders have tried to accommodate as much as possible. Their strategy has been to close off a piece at a time.

“We’re reconstructing the trail in stages, so we’re closing a section at a time and moving on to the next section,” says Paul Jahnige, Director of Greenways and Trails Program for the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

“Right now the section in Hadley is completely done,” he adds.

The finishing touches are being done on the 1,500 foot long part of the trail over the CT river. That part will be done in the middle of May.

The reconstruction in its entirety is a multi-million dollar project that will greatly improve surface quality of the 20 year old rail trail.

“The combination of the glass and tree roots poking through made parts of it impassible,” says Kent.

With a newly re-decked bridge and smooth pavement, the average 7-,000 people who pass on the Norwottuck Rail Trail each week, will ultimately think the wait is worth it.

The Norwottuck Rail Trail is scheduled for completion by November of this year.

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