Blackstone River Bikeway What is New
The concept of a 48 mile bikeway through the historic Blackstone River Valley, connecting Worcester, Massachusetts, to Providence, Rhode Island, has been championed by the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The highway and environmental agencies in both states have joined together to make the concept a reality. Currently, over 10 miles are completed in RI and three miles in MA.
The twenty eight mile, Blackstone River Bikeway in Massachusetts was first given form in 1996 when the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (formerly DEM) published the Conceptual Design and Feasibility Study. Beginning in 1994, under an agreement between the Massachusetts Highway Department (MHD) and the Department of Environmental Management (now DCR), Cullinan Engineering Company, Inc., surveyed the potential bikeway route in Massachusetts and developed a preferred alignment. The route was divided into seven segments as indicated in the table below, from Segment 1 beginning at the Massachusetts-Rhode Island State Line to Segment 7 ending at the Worcester City Common. The proposed alignment passes through the Preserve America communities of Blackstone, Millville, Uxbridge, Northbridge, Grafton, Sutton, Millbury, and Worcester.
Project Timeline & Status
For information on the current status of the design of the bikeway in Massachusetts go to: www.blackstonebikewayinmass.com
Summary of Municipal Mileage
Blackstone – 2.0 miles
Current cost estimates for completing the remaining bikeway from the Rhode Island state line to the Worcester City Common are in the range of $30 million. In 1998, via TEA-21 legislation, Congress approved approximately $6 million in High Priority Project funding for the bikeway. In 2005, another $5.6 million in High Priority Project funding was secured via the reauthorization of TEA-21. Additional funding that has been utilized or is anticipated to be utilized includes state funds, Congestion, Mitigation & Air Quality (CMAQ) funds and federal Alternative Transportation Funds.
A new advocacy group was formed in Rhode island in the Spring of 2008. The Blackstone River Bikeway Patrol is an all-volunteer program, supported in part through a grant from the National Park Service and the Volunteers-In-Park Program of the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.
For information, to join their fun family activities or to get involved with the Rhode Island portion of the bikeway visit www.blackstonebikewaypatrol.org.
Summary of Bikeway Segments*
Segment 1: Blackstone/Millville – Total Length 15,425 ft (4,701 m) (2.92 miles)
* Based on Massachusetts Blackstone River Bikeway Conceptual Design and Feasibility Study, Mass. Dept. of Environmental Management and Mass. Highway Department, September 1996
Did You Know?
While best known for the textile industry, the factories of the Blackstone River Valley made hundreds of different products, ranging from barbed wire and monkey wrenches to space suits and Mr. Potato Head.