Phase 2, a 13-mile stretch that runs from Westford though Carlisle, Acton, Concord, and into Sudbury, will terminate at Route 20. There has been activity in Acton, Concord and Sudbury with preliminary engineering, environmental and design studies being performed on the rail trail. Some obstacles to overcome will be a lumberyard encroachment, a Route 2 crossing near the Acton/Concord town line and a new Assabet River bridge in Concord. The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail will connect with the Mass. Central Rail Trail in Sudbury.
Phase 3, a 5-mile stretch owned by CSX Railroad, runs from Route 20 in Sudbury to Route 9 in Framingham. A CTPS feasibility study is being updated on this portion of the right-of-way. A group called Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail has been incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) to provide support for the rail trail and has a web site at www.brucefreemanrailtrail.org.
For Framingham's 1.3-mile stretch, the rails and ties have been removed, the trail has been cleared of trash and brush, and we expect to open a short section of trail this spring. The entire Framingham section should be open by the end of 2006. Once the trail is open, funding will be needed to make improvements.
In Natick, it may be possible to complete a connection to the Natick Mall within the next few years, but most of this section is still an active freight line. It's not clear when it will become available for trail use. Also, it may take time to negotiate with CSX and secure funding for the purchase of the property.
The entire path promises a well-wooded 3.8-mile bike and walking trail through a very dense, high-speed highway network, with inter-community connectivity to parks, the major recreational lake in eastern Massachusetts, schools, shopping destinations, commuter rail and local, inter-city and airport buses.