The Southborough Connector will provide a long needed closure of a key gap in our regional trail system between Pine Hill Rd and Sudbury Reservoir Trail. Three regional trails come together here on Route 30; the Bay Circuit Trail, Aqueduct Trail, and the Boroughs Trail.
The central and largest section of this gap will soon be permitted for public access by the DCR and MWRA Route 30 remains a significant gap along a narrow road with significant speeds and no space for cycling or walking. The CSX owned causeway does not have public access, and not likely under current ownership.
Section 1 – Pine Hill Road to Route 30
Pine Hill Rd is the western end of the exposed Weston Aqueduct. West of here, the aqueduct is in a tunnel to the Sudbury Reservoir. The Bay Circuit Trail is permitted for construction through MWRA reservoir lands however is on hold due to a lack of safe access along Route 30.
Section 2 – Route 30
Route 30 is a two lane state highway under MassDOT control. The roadway passes over a river (outflow of the Sudbury Dam). There is a guardrail on either side adjacent to the travel lanes. There are no shoulders, sidewalks, or other accommodation for walking or cycling. The speed limit is 40 mph. Three regional trails need to pass along Rt 30, however due to unsafe conditions, this remains a critical gap that needs to be addressed. MassDOT lists this section of road in the Pedestrian Transportation plan as a “priority corridor” but not a high priority corridor.
Section 3 – DCR and MWRA Watershed Land
The Sudbury Reservoir Land from the entrance to the Dam and Rt 30 by the causeway is owned by either the DCR or the MWRA. The Southborough Trails Committee has submitted applications for public access to both agencies, and are currently under review. The process is expected to be complete in early 2019, enabling closure of a key gap in three regional trails. The permits may require some fencing in several areas near the dam to direct the public along the permitted corridor.
Section 4 – DCR and MWRA Watershed Land
Connecting from where the trail exits DCR property at Rt 30 and Central St provides several challenges. The most direct route crosses the causeway on Rt 30 and connects with the marked Sudbury Reservoir Trail on the opposite side. A recent repaving of the causeway resulted in new 3 foot shoulders on both sides of the roadway, providing limited space for pedestrian. Though a significant improvement from the previous condition, its not the ideal long term solution. We recommend that the ultimate alignment follow Central St (no sidewalks) south to Reservoir Drive. Then connect into a vacant town owned parcel that access the railroad causeway at the rear. There is an existing but overgrown trail through the town owned parcel. The rail causeway, owned by CSX, includes one active track (2 trains per day) and a wide area next to it (where there likely was a 2nd track in the past). That grassy area would serve as an ideal trail corridor across the reservoir. However CSX has stated that it will not allow public access across the causeway. Until their policy changes, or the rail line is sold, this section will