Creating a connection between the communities of Natick and Framingham, the Cochituate Rail Trail (CRT) provides significant recreational opportunities and provides residents an attractive alternative to driving. With its proximity to office buildings, shopping centers, schools, and residential areas and a future connection to the MBTA commuter rail station at Natick Center, residents use the trail daily for both commuting and recreation.
BETA provided design and construction phase services for the CRT project in Natick, which extends from Route 30 at the Natick/Framingham Line, a distance of 2.4 miles, to just north of the MBTA Commuter Rail Station in downtown Natick. The CRT also includes a quarter mile spur that connects to the Natick Collections, a major retail shopping center. The trail runs adjacent to Lake Cochituate and Cochituate State Park, crosses over Route 30 and Route 9 on proposed bridge structures, and continues along the Saxonville Branch railroad right of way into Natick center. This project extends the current CRT from Framingham into Natick.
The CRT includes five (5) at-grade intersection crossings, sections of new retaining walls, development of parking areas, the replacement of the former railroad bridge over Route 9, and the reuse of a stone arch bridge over Lake Cochituate.
A key component of the design is the manner and treatment of the trail crossing of Route 30, a major urban arterial that defines the location where the Natick CRT meets the Framingham CRT. The CRT crosses Route 30 just north of its signalized intersection with Speen Street, which connects Route 30 to Route 9 and the Natick Collection. BETA evaluated options for the crossing including HAWK signals and grade separation alternatives. Following discussions with MassDOT and the Town, it was determined that the bridge option was the most viable.
The trail was designed to meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).