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The Blackstone River Bikeway is a planned paved rail trail defining the course of the East Coast Greenway through the Blackstone Valley from Worcester, Massachusettsmarker to Providence, Rhode Islandmarker.

Approximately of the trail has been completed in Rhode Islandmarker, connecting the communities of Woonsocketmarker, Lincolnmarker, Cumberlandmarker and Manvillemarker. of completed trail in Massachusettsmarker connect Worcester and Millburymarker.

The path follows follows the right-of-way of the old Providence and Worcester Railroad and its predecessor, the Blackstone Canal, running alongside the Blackstone River. Once constructed, the bikeway will be linked to the East Bay Bike Path, for an additional of trail to Bristol, Rhode Islandmarker.

History

In 1985, the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor (known after 1999 as the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor) was designated by the United States Congress, following the path of the Blackstone River from Providence to Worcester.

Rhode Island

In 1997, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Department of Transportation began work on the first Rhode Island segment, from Lincoln to Ashton. [510259] This segment was completed in 1998. A second Rhode Island segment was completed in 2002, from Ashton to Manville. [510260] In August 2007, a bridge reconstruction project at Martin Street was completed, ending a three-year bike path closure. The new bridge also incorporated a major safety improvement for the path with the path passing underneath Martin Street instead of meeting it at grade. In November 2007, a extension from Manville to the Woonsocket Water Treatment Plant was opened. A segment from Lonsdale to Valley Falls, which includes more than of boardwalk over part of the Lonsdale Marsh, opened in 2008. A segment through the River's Edge Recreational Complex in Woonsocket was completed in 2008, and that segment was linked to the previously-completed portions to the south later that year. The path is about long as of mid-2009. Additional segments are under design to extend the path further through Woonsocket toward the Massachusetts border and south into Central Falls and Pawtucket.

Massachusetts

In 1996, a study undertaken by the Massachusetts Highway Department (MHD) and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (known at the time as the Department of Environmental Management) produced a plan for seven segments of trail linking Worcester with Blackstone, Massachusettsmarker and the Rhode Island border.

  1. Blackstone to Millvillemarker (2.92 miles)
  2. Millville to Uxbridgemarker (3.30 miles)
  3. Uxbridge to Northbridgemarker (9.09 miles)
  4. Northbridge to Graftonmarker (1.39 miles)
  5. Grafton to Millbury via Suttonmarker (6.02 miles)
  6. Millbury to Worcester (4+ miles)
  7. Worcester (2.61 miles)


Construction was delayed due to a lack of state funds, a shortfall attributed to the over-budget "Big Digmarker" highway tunnel project in Bostonmarker. [510261] In 2005, the first segment, from Worcester to Millbury, was opened to the public.

See also



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