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For Immediate Release: 05/17/2013
CONTACT: 857-368-8500

MassDOT Celebrates Opening of Gillis Rail Trail Connector in Salisbury
Highlights Increasing Connectivity during Bay State Bike Week

SALISBURY– Friday, May 17, 2013— The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Highway Administrator Frank DePaola today joined state and local officials, as well as bicycling and walking advocates to celebrate Bay State Bike Week 2013 with the opening of the Gillis Rail Trail Connector in Salisbury. The connection links existing bicycling and walking paths in Salisbury and Newburyport.

“MassDOT is pleased to promote the healthy transportation modes of walking, bicycling and transit,” said Administrator DePaola. "The growing network of shared use paths in this region makes it easier for residents and visitors alike to walk and bicycle in comfort and safety, and to connect with transit, such as at the Newburyport MBTA Commuter Rail station."

The completion of the $1 million, .25 mile project adds a new piece to the Bay State Greenway, which is a growing network that hopes to establish 788 miles of bicycling facilities across the Commonwealth. So far, more than 150 miles have been established.

“I greatly appreciate that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has made the Salisbury Rail Trail Connector a priority," said Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives. "The Connector is an exciting development for people that have been using the trails in Newburyport and Salisbury and have sought a safe way to get to both trails. Now, more people will come to enjoy these rail trails because there is a safe and convenient connection.”

“The rail trail connector creates a safe method for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross Route 1 and connect to the rest of the Coastal Trails Network,” said Representative Michael Costello. "This was a matter of public safety, but the new route also has spectacular vistas along the Merrimack River. I want to thank the Department of Transportation’s Design Team and Highway Administrator Frank DePaola for his leadership on the project."

The project also supports MassDOT’s GreenDOT and Mode Shift policies, as well as the Healthy Transportation Compact. The policies and initiatives work to balance the needs of all transportation users, expand mobility, improve public health, support a cleaner environment and create stronger communities.

Later this year, MassDOT will begin construction to replace the Whittier Bridge on Interstate 95. While construction will use innovative, accelerated techniques to better accommodate vehicle traffic, the project will also allow for the construction of the first separate shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists on an Interstate in Massachusetts and will provide a direct bicycling and walking link to the park & ride facility on Route 113.

For transportation news and updates visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot, blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot and Facebook at www.facebook.com/massdotinfo.

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