Mattapoisett bike path extension to move forward this spring

Jan 13, 2019

MATTAPOISETT — The long-awaited extension of the Mattapoisett bike path is one step closer to construction now that town officials have been awarded a federal grant for $9 million to extend the trail from Depot Street to Mattapoisett Neck Road.

According to Board of Selectmen Chair Jordan Collyer, the second phase of the project will be funded by a Federal Highway Administration grant for about $9 million, extending the path from Mattapoisett Neck Road to the Depot Street parking lot.

It is a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant, which aims to promote multi-use paths and provide a way for residents to get out on a dedicated and safe route, said Collyer. 

“This phase will include river, marsh, and barrier beach crossings,” said Collyer. “Arguably, this will be a beautiful and picturesque length of path to ride.”

On Jan. 11, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation also announced that the lowest project bid came from the Acushnet-based company DW White at $6,645,395.44. The department will review the bids prior to issuing the Notice to Proceed for work.

The shared-use path extension will create an additional 1.02 miles of surface for users who already utilize the path. Collyer said that construction is expected as soon as the weather gets better in the spring.

“I am excited to see the project reach another important milestone for a connected bike path through Mattapoisett,” said Representative Bill Straus.  “This next phase of construction is the culmination of years of planning work undertaken by community members and professionals many of whom have volunteered their time.”

Collyer said that the existing route doesn’t have access to a lot of parking spaces, and the extension would solve the issue by providing access to parking at the Depot Street parking lot.

He also said the route will ease access to the town beach area on Goodspeed Island. Along with the extension, Collyer said that a few handicap spaces at the beach area would be added and an area for picnic benches.

“I am excited to see this reach another milestone,” said Collyer. “The town has been waiting quite a while to have the center of town connected to the first phase and, ultimately, the Fairhaven leg. This phase is key to the path as it sits today.”

The addition is part of a larger proposed 4.5 mile path that hopes to connect Mattapoisett, Marion, Fairhaven and Wareham. The trail is also part of the South Coast Bikeway, a growing regional system of bike paths through southeastern Massachusetts.

Currently, only a one mile section of the path is finished, connecting the Fairhaven town line to Mattapoisett Neck Road. 

The are two more phases remaining in the project. The Marion connection would pave about a half mile of old railroad from the end of Industrial Drive to the Marion town line.

The other phase will connect Acushnet Road to Park Street and to the North Street Park and Ride, and then to Industrial Drive. 

“I would like to thank the many stakeholders that have transformed this idea into a reality, such as the Town of Mattapoisett, the local elected officials, and the Mattapoisett Bike Path Committee and their Friends Committee,” said Massachusetts Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “We look forward to continuing to work together to deliver this important project.”

Collyer said there has been positive feedback from the public regarding the extension. “The positive feedback and opinion has been well split amongst several generations in town, which is always great to see,” he said.