Northampton Underpass

The Knowledge Corridor – Restore Vermonter Project included funding for the construction of a bicycle/pedestrian underpass in Northampton.

The underpass — which is now under construction — will connect the Mass Central Rail Trail, which currently terminates on the east side of the railroad tracks, with the Northampton Bike Trail on the west side of the tracks.

The official projected completion date for this project is October 25, 2017.

Northampton Bike Paths | edited March 3, 2016


Recent images

A view of the east entrance of the new underpass
Northampton, Ma. | October 18, 2017 | 6:49 pm EDT

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.



A view of the east entrance of the new underpass
Northampton, Ma. | September 23, 2017


The eastern entrance to the new bicycle/pedestrian underpass
Northampton, Ma. | Woodmont Rd – looking West | September 10, 2017


Construction progress image of the new bicycle/pedestrian underpass
Northampton, Ma. | Behind the Walgreens – looking South | September 10, 2017

This image shows the two ramps that lead to the western entrance of the underpass.


Construction progress images


Northampton, Ma. | Woodmont Rd – looking North | August 12, 2016


Northampton, Ma. | Woodmont Rd – looking North | November 11, 2016



Northampton, Ma. | Woodmont Rd – looking North | February 18, 2017


Northampton, Ma. | Woodmont Rd – looking North | April 9, 2017


Northampton, Ma. | Woodmont Rd – looking North | May 14, 2017


Northampton, Ma. | Woodmont Rd – looking North | July 16, 2017


Northampton, Ma. | Woodmont Rd – looking North | August 20, 2017


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.)

Northampton Underpass Plan
Northampton Underpass Civil General Plan | January 24, 2014


Current Status

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 substantially complete and ready to be opened.


We are now waiting to hear when the ribbon cutting and official opening will take place.

Please stand bye for updated information.



Recent news

“Northampton underpass project under way off King Street”
Daily Hampshire Gazette | October 21, 2016


See also

Construction of Northampton Underpass Starts
Trains in the Valley | October 17, 2016


External links

Knowledge Corridor – Northampton Underpass Project (MBTA)

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: October 19, 2017
Page last reviewed: July 17, 2017