Fay, Spofford & Thorndike to study proposed Rail Trail

Townsend Times:  12/14/2007

GROTON -- The Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee and the town of Groton have announced that they have both selected Fay, Spofford & Thorndike LLC to undertake a preliminary environmental and engineering study of the proposed trail.

The Squannacook River Rail Trail is a planned 3.3-mile Rail Trail with termini at Depot Street in Townsend center and the Bertozzi Conservation Area on Townsend Road in Groton. This recreational trail would pass through an area rich with natural and historic sites.

In addition, the trail would offer a safe way to bike or walk to many Townsend and Groton destinations, providing an alternative to heavily trafficked Route 119. This project is being investigated jointly by the town of Groton and the Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee, a group of local volunteers assisted by the Nashua River Watershed Association.

The preliminary environmental and engineering study by a professional engineering firm will address many issues involving the trail's feasibility, including potential environmental and business impact, parking and road crossings, safety and abutter concerns.

The town of Groton and the committee recently sent out separate but coordinated requests for proposals for each town's portion of the study. Townsend's portion of this study is being funded by a Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation grant, while Groton's portion is being funded with town Community Preservation Act funds.

After reviewing various proposals, both groups selected the engineering firm of Fay, Spofford & Thorndike LLC. They are one of the leaders in this field and designed both the Nashua River Rail Trail in Ayer, Groton, Pepperell and Dunstable as well as the Nashua Heritage Rail Trail in Nashua, N.H. They recently completed similar trail studies in the towns of Acton, Concord, Sudbury, Wakefield, Lynnfield and Georgetown.

An important part of the study will be public meetings led by Fay, Spofford & Thorndike to discuss their findings. These meetings will be held in 2008 in both Townsend and Groton, and those interested in the proposed Rail Trail are encouraged to attend.

For the latest updates on the project and more about the upcoming feasibility study, see www.SquannacookRiverRailTrail.org.