Modernizing the nation’s first rail trail
The Cape Cod Rail Trail follows a former railroad right-of-way for 22 miles through six Massachusetts communities. Crossing cranberry bogs, pine forests, and lakes in between, this shared-use path is a key recreational and transportation resource for residents and visitors. Not only is it significant as the first rail trail in the nation, but it’s also an important cultural resource and economic engine.
When it was time for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to rehabilitate the 25-year-old trail, our team was selected to design upgrades that meet today’s standards. The redesign included trail widening to better accommodate cyclists, horseback riders, walkers, and runners. We also performed intersection treatments, vegetative clearing, and the addition of parking lots, signage, fencing, and root barriers. Innovative safety-focused solutions were engineered along the Rail Trail’s roadway approaches to include slight curves that encourage lower bicycle speeds and decrease crossing distances.
The Cape Cod Commission’s transportation program manager praised the team for “an exceptional job of responding to local concerns, both from town officials and members of the public, while preparing designs that meet strict state requirements.”
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