The SNETT as a proposed rail trail travels from Franklin, MA all the way to Douglas, and some progress has been made. An entire section in Blackstone, through Millville and on to Uxbridge, is complete. A portion in Bellingham is finished. But barriers remain. We stopped by Prospect Street in Franklin to see what is happening to build the tunnel (really a large culvert) underneath Prospect Street that will facilitate travel along the SNETT from Franklin to Bellingham.
At the moment, it would take a very large leap to get from one side of Prospect Street to the other. The construction crew completely closed the road, and dug straight down to trail level, and has poured a cement slab, the bottom of the planned culvert/tunnel. The trail footprint is there, and the twenty-foot high barrier visitors to the SNETT have had to navigate to get from one side of the trail to the other has been removed.
This is a construction zone. We did not trespass beyond the protective fencing. We were able to see lots of progress from behind the fence. Work started in May. The project is slated for completion by the end of this summer. A ten foot high culvert (with the road on top of the culvert) is planned to help carry trail visitors from one side of the trail to the other. This will open up travel to more easily start in Franklin and continue on to Bellingham, where two sections of the trail are finished.
Kudos the the Franklin/Bellingham Rail Trail committee, the local town planning boards, and state legislators who have pressed forward on the need, and found the state funding for this project. It’s been a long time coming. We look forward to reporting when the tunnel/culvert is complete and back open.
For views of the trail from Lake Street in Bellingham back to Prospect Street, from a few years ago, check this out here.
For the moment, the SNETT in Franklin from Spring Street to Prospect Street, is closed. In Bellingham, the SNETT from Lake Street east back to Prospect Street is also closed. We have seen so many trail closings this spring during the pandemic with concerns about overcrowded trails. This is a trail closing we have welcomed. There are lots of other places to go right now. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Finding the Sacred in Everyday (and some very strange) Places.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.