Trail status in Sudbury

Fall 2015

A year ago, the Town of Sudbury selected the rail trail design firm VHB to do the initial (25%) design of the BFRT.

The design will encompass the 4.4-mile rail bed from the Concord/Sudbury town line south to the crossing of the Mass. Central Rail Trail near Chiswick Park. The design is being paid for with $200,000 in Community Preservation and other town funds, combined with a donation of $58,700 from the Friends of the BFRT. The Friends had initially raised the funds to pay for the design of the northernmost half mile from Concord south to Rte. 117. However the Sudbury Board of Selectmen decided tocombine the Friends’ donation with Town funds to design the trail on the entire part of rail bed owned by the Commonwealth.

Wetlands flagging was done in fall 2014 before snowmaggedon descended. Surveying resumed in the spring after the snowmelt. However an abutting landowner filed legal action questioning the Order of Conditions agreed to by the Town Conservation Commission. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection dismissed this action in July. A companion Superior Court case was also filed. The next step is for the Court to endorse that dismissal. The town has filed legal papers to accomplish that.

Meanwhile VHB is waiting for secure legal footing before restarting surveying work. Once that happens nothing else significant stands in the way of completing the surveying and initial design and submitting that design to MassDOT. The target date for submission was February 2016. That submission would qualify the Sudbury section of the BFRT for state and federal transportation funding. However, this legal tangle makes it difficult to meet the February deadline, thus possibly delaying the construction funding for a year.

Meanwhile, 36 acres land just north of Hudson Road up to Codman Drive has been sold to a developer. A large chunk of that land is a pristine pine forest that abuts the east side of the BFRT. A 40B development plan has been submitted for eleven buildings housing 250 dwelling units, some of which would be affordable, on that parcel. Because the development would encompass the location of the long-gone Sudbury station of the Framingham & Lowell Railroad, the development is called the Village at Sudbury Station. However the project must clear a number of hurdles before being approved.