The Knowledge Corridor – Restore Vermonter Project included funding for the construction of a bicycle/pedestrian underpass in Northampton.
The underpass connects the Mass Central Rail Trail — on the east side of the railroad tracks — with the Northampton Bike Trail on the west side of the tracks.
The underpass was opened to the public on Thursday, November 9, 2017 when MassDOT declared that the project was substantially complete.
On June 7, 2018 MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollock and Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz hosted a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the project at the site.
Images of the underpass
Past images of the underpass
Let there be light!
National Grid has installed electric service at the site and the lights are on. From the looks of it they must be almost ready to remove the temporary fencing and cut the ribbon.
This image shows the two ramps that lead to the western entrance of the underpass.
Construction progress images
The document below, which is from the so-called Public Filing Cabinet on the City of Northampton’s website, shows the plan for the underpass that was presented to the city’s Planning Board in early 2014. (This is the current site drawing for the project.)
The project was advertised by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (for MassDOT) during the winter of 2016.
March 30, 2016 | The bids (6 in total) were opened — with a low bid of $4,434,700 submitted by Northern Construction Services of Palmer, Ma.
June 2, 2016 | The MBTA issued a Notice to Proceed [with construction] to the contractor.
July 2016 | vegetation on the site was cleared.
September 2016 | Construction staking of the work site was completed.
October 2016 | The contractor commenced work at the site on or about October 12, 2016.
Early November 2016 | a shoofly track (around the area of the work site where the first part of the underpass will be constructed) was set up by shifting a section of the active rail line to the west about twenty feet.
February 2017 | the eastern half of the underpass now appears to be complete. When the weather improves the active rail line will be shifted back to its original location so that the western half of the underpass can be constructed.
Early April 2017 | a long section of new track is being built above the completed half of the underpass. This track will be cut-in to the main line and the shoofly track that was constructed last November will be removed. Once this happens the western half of the underpass will be constructed.
Late April 2017 | the new track above the completed portion of the underpass has been cut-in and the temporary shoofly track was removed.
May 2017 | construction of the western half of the underpass has commenced.
July 2017 | the underpass concrete work is basically complete and the contractor is now working on the ramps leading to the western entrance.
August 2017 | The contractor is now completing the final grading of the site. Work continues on the finish work and landscaping.
September 2017 | The contractor is demobilizing its forces and equipment from the site now that most work at the site has now been completed. A date for the ribbon cutting and opening of the underpass has not yet been announced, but is expected soon.
Early October 2017 | On October 5th the City Council of the City of Northampton approved National Grid’s Petition for Pole and Wire Location (dated July 25, 2017) on Woodmont Road. With this petition approved National Grip should be able to finalize the installation of electric service at the underpass location.
Mid October 2017 | Electric service was established at the site. It would appear that the underpass is complete and ready to be opened.
November 9, 2017 | MassDOT opened the underpass to the public after declaring that the project was substantially complete.
June 7, 2018 | a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event was held at the underpass site.
“Northampton bike path tunnel under railroad tracks celebrated at grand opening”
By Mary C. Serreze | The Republican | June 8, 2018
“Northampton underpass project under way off King Street”
Daily Hampshire Gazette | October 21, 2016
Construction of Northampton Underpass Starts
Trains in the Valley | October 17, 2016
Knowledge Corridor – Northampton Underpass Project (archived)
Development of the rail trail network in the Connecticut River Valley
A series of short videos – with a particular focus on the history and the politics of how they got built as trails.
By Craig Della Penna
Page last updated: January 9, 2020
Page last reviewed: July 17, 2017