Blackstone River Bikeway (2017)

Segments 3, 4, & 5

The Blackstone River Bikeway is a 48-mile-long route connecting Worcester, Massachusetts with Providence, Rhode Island. The Bikeway generally follows the historic Blackstone River and utilizes an off-road multi-use path and an on-road facility.

Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) is the nonprofit management entity for the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The Corridor encompasses more than 720 square miles and 25 cities and towns located in southcentral Massachusetts and northern Rhode Island. Since the non-profit organization was formed in 2010, BHC has worked with community partners to continue to work to preserve and promote the Valley’s historic, cultural, natural, and recreational resources for current and future generations. BHC will continue to lead efforts to develop the Blackstone River Bikeway as part of its mission. 

The design and construction of the Bikeway has benefitted from strong support of the Corridor’s Congressional delegation. The region’s Senators and Congressional members have consistently encouraged state agencies to advance the project, and have ensured millions of dollars in federal funding to support the work. In Rhode Island, the Department of Transportation (RIDOT) works cooperatively to design and construct the Bikeway before turning it over to the Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM). Most of the Bikeway in Rhode Island was completed and most remaining segments were in construction and/or nearly ready for construction pending final permitting. 

Construction of more than 3.5 miles of Bikeway in Millbury and Worcester was mostly completed in 2006 but the off-road portion of this segment had yet to be conveyed to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). North of this segment, the final stretch into downtown Worcester was designed as a separate “cycle track” and is anticipated to be constructed within the next two to three years. 

More recently, MassDOT transferred funding to DCR to support the rehabilitation of several bridges along the Southern New England Trunkline Trail in Blackstone, Millville, and Uxbridge. Most of this 4.2-mile-long stretch was completed as an off-road multi-use path late in 2016 and nearly connects the Bikeway to the Rhode Island state line. 

The remaining stretch, between the newly-constructed Bikeway in Uxbridge and the section in Millbury, is about 20 miles long in Uxbridge, Northbridge, Grafton, Sutton, and Millbury and includes a stretch through the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park. Development of the 13-mile stretch of the Bikeway between the north end of the State Park and the existing path in Millbury, known as a portion of Segment 3 as well as Segments 4 and 5 (Segments 3, 4, and 5), faces many challenges.

Attached document published March 2017

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