Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Sudbury Information
The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (BFRT) will be a 25-mile rail trail between Lowell and Framingham, along the former Lowell Secondary Track right-of-way of the Old Colony Railroad (Full BFRT Corridor Map and Status). In Sudbury, the rail corridor extends through the center of Town, approximately 4.4 miles from South Sudbury near Route 20, north to the Sudbury/Concord Town line (Sudbury BFRT Project in Design Map). The BFRT will be constructed with State and Federal support. The project remains on schedule to commence construction later in 2022 or early 2023.
The project is on the 2021-2025 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) of the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) committing construction funding during Federal Fiscal Year 2022. This means the project has been awarded approximately $12 million dollars for construction of the 4.4-mile rail trail.
The Planning & Community Development Department intends to post periodic project updates to this page on the Town’s website. Additionally, the Planning & Community Development Department has created a Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Project Updates email list where periodic updates will be pushed out to interested parties. If you or someone you know would like to join this email list (or be removed from it), please email the Planning & Community Development Department at PCD@sudbury.ma.us.
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Conformed Plan Set, September 1, 2022
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Final Right of Way Plans, May 26, 2022
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Notice of Intent, December 22, 2021
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Order of Conditions, March 1, 2022
Field Inspection Reports:
Field Inspection Report #1, January 18, 2023
Field Inspection Report #2, February 16, 2023
March 20, 2023 Update:
Photos of Phase 2D Bruce Freeman Rail Trail construction work during the week of March 10, 2023.
March 9, 2023 Update:
This is a friendly reminder that since we are now into active construction on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, people should NOT be accessing the rail corridor or actively using it. It is simply too dangerous and, at a minimum, we do not want people traversing an active construction site and getting in the way of the workers and/or their machinery. As such, we ask that people avoid walking on and crossing the rail corridor until the rail trail construction project is completed.
February 17, 2023 Update:
Photos of Phase 2D Bruce Freeman Rail Trail construction work during the week of February 13, 2023.
February 8, 2023 Update:
Construction activity on Phase 2D of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail continues to progress forward. Preliminary vegetation clearing and invasive species removal has been mostly completed in the southern portion of the corridor from its intersection with Haynes Road down to the Station Road area. Rail removal will commence during the week of February 13, 2023. This work will start in the area where the corridor intersects with Hudson Road and head northward. Rails will be cut and removed in sections, and immediately followed by the installation of erosion control measures to allow additional vegetation and tie removal, and grading to get underway. Additionally, Town staff is working to coordinate with MassDOT on a groundbreaking event for the project, likely in late March of 2023.
January 31, 2023 Update:
Photos of Phase 2D Bruce Freeman Rail Trail construction work during the week of January 31, 2023.
January 23, 2023 Update:
Photos of Phase 2D Bruce Freeman Rail Trail construction work during the week of January 23, 2023.
January 20, 2023 Update:
We are happy to announce that on Monday, January 23, 2023, A.A. Will Corporation and their subcontractor, Stanley Tree Service, will commence active vegetation clearing in the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Phase 2D corridor. This activity will be the actual start of construction in the field for this rail trail project.
The initial work will commence at the southern end of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Phase 2D corridor near Station Road and travel northward. The early stages of this work will include vegetation clearing, including invasive species removal, and chipping within the project’s limit of work in the corridor. This activity will be followed by the installation of erosion control measures, and then the removal of rails and ties in the coming weeks. Grading of the limits of work will begin afterward.
November 30, 2022 Update:
- The submission deadline for construction bids to MassDOT for the project was on September 7, 2022 and A.A. Will Corporation was selected to be the contractor in late October of 2022.
- The first pre-construction meeting for the project was held with MassDOT on November 9, 2022.
- A.A. Will Corporation is working to fulfill pre-construction permitting conditions with the Conservation Office before they can begin clearing vegetation (the first step in the project).
- A.A. Will Corporation has indicated they would like to conduct the initial vegetation clearing during the 2022-2023 winter, but they may not be able to start until late December or into January of 2023.
- More information as to where the initial work will start will be available once the contractor gets closer to actual field work and formulates a plan.
- A groundbreaking ceremony for the project will be scheduled sometime in the early spring of 2023.
June 28, 2022 Update: Town of Sudbury was awarded a $240,000 Mass Trails Grant for Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Extension: Development and Design to CSX Corridor.
April 27, 2022 Update: The BFRT, Phase 2D Project has advanced to the final design stages and construction could begin as early as Fall 2022. A few final reviews from Federal partners are underway and Town Meeting approval of Articles 19, 20, and 47 are needed to help reach the finish line. Votes on the Town Meeting articles will give authority to the Select Board to act on behalf of the Town to finalize the right of way process and fund required consultant services, accessory items, and emergency contingency funds for the construction phase. Please visit the Town Meeting Articles page.
4/21/22 Update: The Sudbury Annual Town Meeting is May 2nd (potentially to be continued to May 3rd and 4th) and will involve four BFRT related articles. Articles 19, 20, and 47 must be approved at Town Meeting to allow the 4.4-mile, Phase 2D section (Concord Town Line to Mass Central Rail Trail) of the BFRT to advance to the construction phase. The BFRT-related articles are:
- Article 19. Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Phase 2D – Acquisition of Land (Corridor Lease and Temporary Easements)
- Article 20. Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Phase 2D – Grant of Easements
- Article 47. Community Preservation Act Fund – Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Design and Construction North of Mass Central Rail Trail
- Article 48. Community Preservation Act Fund – Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Design and Construction South of Mass Central Rail Trail
Reference Plans: Plans referenced in Articles 19 and 20 are “Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division Plan and Profile of Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in the Town of Sudbury Middlesex County Final Right of Way Submission” dated January 18, 2022 prepared by Fuss & O’Neill.
The project is on track for design completion in June of 2022 and construction contract advertising later in 2022.
1/31/22 Update: The following milestones have been recently achieved and the project is on track for design completion in June of 2022 and construction contract advertising later in 2022.
- The 100% design plans and associated materials were submitted to MassDOT on January 18, 2022.
- The NOI was submitted to the Conservation Commission and the hearing opened on December 10, 2021 and will be continued on February 7, 2022. The application documents may be found on the associated Conservation Commission Meeting Pages, in Supporting Materials.
- The Comment Period for the Section 4(f) review was announced. This process involves the review of proposed uses of Town-owned property for associated BFRT purposes, since construction of the project is funded by FHWA and MassDOT. The public notice and background information are found below.
12/22/21 Update: The Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs issued the MEPA Certificate and determined the ENF has adequately described and analyzed the project and its alternatives, and assessed its potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures. Based on review of the ENF and comments received on it, and in consultation with State Agencies, it was determined that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is not required.
11/22/21 Update: MassDOT and the Town of Sudbury have submitted the Environmental Notification Form (ENF) for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Project to the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA). See details at Bruce Freeman Rail Trail ENF Filing info.
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Advisory Task Force
Please see the BFRT Advisory Task Force webpage for information on the Task Force.
If you are interested in receiving project updates about the Sudbury BFRT, please sign up for email notification.
Design Schedule and Updates
Latest Select Board Project Management Report
Fuss & O’Neill, Design Consultant Monthly Reports
Monthly Reports 2021: January February March April May June July August September October November
Monthly Reports 2020: November December
100% Design Submission, January 18, 2022
75% Design Submission, May 12, 2021
Preliminary Concepts for 75% Design
Presentation to the Select Board of the BFRT Advisory Task Force 75% Design Recommendations, March 16, 2021 – Board Approved Concepts and Recommendations
Presentation to the BFRT Advisory Task Force, March 9, 2021
Presentation to the BFRT Advisory Task Force, February 23, 2021
Preliminary Concept 1 Broadacres Farm Parking, Connection, and Amenities
Preliminary Concept 2 Broadacres Farm Parking, Connection, and Amenities
Draft Plan North Road, Davis Field & Hudson Road, Parkinsons Field Connections
Draft Signalized Intersection Plan Hudson and Peakham Roads
Draft Concept Wayfinding and Pavement Markings
Proposed Intersection Mass Central Rail Trail (Extracted from DCR Permit Plans)
Section 4(f) Information
Public Notice Section 4(f) Comment Period
Town-owned parcel summary of uses and background information
Town of Sudbury Acquires CSX Corridor to Advance Open Space and Trail Connectivity Goals
December 17, 2020: The Town of Sudbury has closed on a deal to acquire the 1.4-mile CSX rail corridor in south Sudbury, ensuring the Town’s control of the corridor use and the possible expansion of the regional Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (BFRT) system.
For more details, please see the CSX Corridor Acquisition Press Release.
Survey Activity in the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Corridor
November 23, 2020: Over the course of the next couple weeks, residents may notice survey crews walking the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (BFRT) corridor, gathering supplemental information for the right of way and wetlands. The corridor runs from the Concord Town line to Station Road off of Union Avenue. Survey work will also be conducted near the rail corridor on Broadacres Farm at 82 Morse Road. The crew members are affiliated with Fuss & O’Neill, who has been contracted by the Town to complete the final BFRT design, and their survey subconsultants at GCG Associates.
We ask that residents do not remove any flags or markers placed in the wetlands or within corridor along property lines so that all data can be collected.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact the Planning and Community Development office at 978‐639‐3387 or email email@example.com.
Fuss & O’Neill onboard as Design Consultant for the the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Project
Fuss & O’Neill (F&O) was selected as the design engineering consultant to complete the final design of the BFRT from the Concord Town line to Station Road off Union Avenue. The Board of Selectmen approved the contract on November 4, 2020 and the contract notice to proceed was issued on November 6. Fuss & O’Neill will complete the final design and permitting of the BFRT, Phase 2D, from the Concord Town line to Station Road off Union Avenue. The final design will expand on the 25% designed finalized by VHB and Jacobs in 2019. The project includes final design for the path, bridges of Hop and Pantry Brooks, parking, connector paths, landscaping, environmental permitting and mitigation, and numerous opportunities for public engagement. The Fuss & O’Neill team will work closely with the Town and MassDOT to complete the trail design and permitting process which will conclude with a MassDOT construction contract in 2022. The final design of the half mile section of the BFRT in Concord south of Powder Mill Road will also be incorporated into the construction contract.
Town Reaches Agreement with CSX on Acquisition of CSX Corridor
November 24, 2020: The November 3, 2020, Presidential/State Election Ballot Question 3 sought to authorize spending for the land purchase and passed at the election. At the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on November 17, 2020, the results of due diligence were reported, an amendment to the PSA was approved, and the Board voted to advance to closing, which is anticipate to occur the week of November 30, 2020. Click for more information.
August 26, 2020: Town of Sudbury has reached an agreement and signed a purchase and sale agreement with CSX regarding the acquisition of the CSX-owned 1.4-mile corridor for future potential expansion of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Click for more information.
MassTrails Grant Award for Sudbury Acquisition of CSX Corridor
August 1, 2020: Town of Sudbury has been awarded a $300,000 MassTrails Grant toward the acquisition of the CSX-owned 1.4-mile corridor for future potential expansion of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Learn more at https://sudbury.ma.us/pcd/?p=2571. This grant combined with the 2018 Recreational Trails Grant of $100,000 will cover approximately one third of the purchase price.
MassDOT Design Public Hearing: July 16 – 30, 2020
MassDOT’s virtual Design Public Hearing for the BFRT in Sudbury was presented as a webinar which was posted online on July 16th. Public comments to be captured as part of the Design Public Hearing proceedings were directed to MassDOT by July 30th. The video will be available and additional comments may be submitted on an ongoing basis following compilation of the Public Hearing proceedings.
The hearing is presented at https://www.mass.gov/massdot-highway-design-public-hearings and on Sudbury TV.
Design Public Hearing Slides for Reference:
Slides 1-9, Project Introduction, History, Scope
Slides 10-25, Design Elements, Roadway Crossings
Slides 26-37, Historic Elements, Traffic, Structural Design Introduction
Slides 38-52, Structural Design Hop Brook and Boardwalk
Slides 53-71, Structural Design Pantry Brook, Environmental Context, Next Steps, How to Comment
Transcript of the Hearing with Public Comments
Click below to learn more about the hearing:
Public Hearing Announcement Public Hearing Notice Public Hearing Flyer
BFRT MassDOT Approved 25% Design Plans
Pantry Brook Bridge Sketch Plans
MassDOT Comments on 25% Design with Sketch Plans
MassDOT Comments and Comment Resolution – General
MassDOT Comments and Comment Resolution – ROW
MassDOT Comments and Comment Resolution – Traffic
(Sketch Plan Comments require file transfer due to file sizes)
25% Revised Sketch Plan Submission to MassDOT April 2020
Approved Hydraulic Report, Pantry Brook
Appendix 6.1 FEMA Hydraulic Model
Appendix 6.4 Existing HEC-RADS Model and Results
Appendix 6.5 Proposed HEC-RADS Model and Results
Appendix 6.6 and 6.7 Scour Analysis and Rip Rap Calculations
Approved Hydraulic Memo, Hop Brook
Pantry Brook Bridge Sketch Plans
BFRT Project Update February 2020
Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Matt Genova Email Update on Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Planning/Project Readiness
Select Board Letter to MassDOT, February 12, 2020
BFRT Project Update December 9, 2019
MassDOT General Design Process Flowchart (BFRT – Sudbury Design Status highlighted)
Schedule for 25% Design and Design Public Hearing
25% Sketch Plan Submission to MassDOT November 27, 2019
Sketch Plan Pantry Brook Bridge
Sketch Plan Boardwalk (south of Hudson Road)
Soil Samples/Borings along the Corridor in Summer 2019
Crews collecting data on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Corridor, August 2019 Public Notice
BFRT Project Update July 9, 2019
Memo for BOS Meeting July 9, 2019
25% Structural Design (Bridge Sketch Plans) Development
Schedule March 2019
MassDOT Comments Received on 25% Submission (Without Sketch Plans)
Bridge Section Comments Pantry Brook
Bridge Section Comments Hop Brook
Environmental Section Comments
Traffic (Boston) Section Comments
Complete Streets Section Comments
ROW Section Preliminary Comments
25% Design Plans (Without Sketch Plans)
Town Letters to MassDOT: September 8, 2017 and September 15, 2017
25% Design Plan Set
25% Design Submission Booklet (Highway, Environmental, and Traffic Checklists, Construction Cost Estimate, and Parking Memo)
Functional Design Report
Hop Brook Preliminary Structures Report
Pantry Brook Bridge Type Study Report
25% Design Right of Way (ROW) Plans
25% Design Utility Plans
General Wildlife Habitat Assessment Report Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Sudbury, Massachusetts, Wildlife Habitat Assessment Relative to the 25% Design Submittal dated November 2016
Other Documents, September 2017
Designer (VHB) Response to Town Comments
Estimated Wetlands Impacts
Estimated Floodplain Impacts
Preliminary Design Plans
Preliminary Design Memo from VHB
Preliminary Design Plans Overview Presentation Identifying Some Challenge Areas
Preliminary Design Plans
Preliminary Cross Sections
Preliminary Roadway Crossing Plans Feb 2017
Existing Conditions Parking Memo
Final BFRT Design Task Force Recommendations March 2017
Potential Roadway Alternative Routes
Proposal Request – 25% Design BFRT; September 10, 2014
Accepted Proposal Response – VHB; October 3, 2014
BFRT Final Design Proposal Request; August 31, 2020
Design Proposal – Fuss & O’Neill; September 23, 2020
October Update Memo – BOS Meeting; November 1, 2016
August Update Memo – VHB; August 31, 2016
Town Counsel Opinion on Superseding Order of Conditions; August 7, 2015
MassDOT Letter; May 5, 2015
MassDOT Letter; May 1, 2014
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Meeting; March 9, 2017 Meeting Flier Notes
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Meeting; November 29, 2016
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Design Charrette; August 25, 2016 Notes
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Meeting; June 21, 2016 Presentation
Rails to Trails Public Forum; January 22, 2015 Rails to Trails Forum Minutes
Support letters from BFRT Town Representatives: Acton, Chelmsford, Westford
Request for Funding to Acquire the Northern Portion of the CSX Corridor – 2018 Application for the Recreational Trails Program Grant
Town Meeting CPC Appropriation Vote; May 7, 2014
Board of Selectmen BFRT Gift Acceptance Vote; April 8, 2014 (begins on page 5)
MassDOT Confirmatory Taking (Acton, Concord, Sudbury)
Rail Trail Resources
MassDOT Project Development and Design Guide
Shared Use Path Planning and Design Guide
Impacts of Shared Use Paths: A study of the economic, health, transportation, environmental, safety, and accessibility impacts of four shared use paths in Massachusetts
Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail – BFRT Trail Maps
Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) Trailmap (Regional Online Trail Map)