Mass Central Rail Trail, Weston Rail Trail Underpass

Weston, MA
Key Elements
  • Multi-use rail trail path design
  • Culvert design
  • Coordination with the DCR and the MBTA

In 1987, the railroad beneath the bridge that formerly supported Conant Road in Weston was removed and the underpass that allowed for passing was filled in. In 2017, Nitsch worked directly with the Town of Weston to perform a feasibility study to open a new underpass that would allow the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT) to continue under Conant Road. We then worked with the Town and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to provide design engineering and permitting services to construct the Conant Road underpass and connect separate sections of the MCRT. The new underpass allows pedestrians, equestrians, and cyclists to continue along the MCRT, rather than utilize nearby local streets to get to the other side of Conant Road.

One of the major project challenges was coordinating with local abutters. The proposed design avoided permanent land takings and minimized temporary impacts during construction to adjacent properties. This was especially difficult due to the path already being constructed on either side of the proposed crossing, which did not allow for alignment adjustments. Nitsch overcame this challenge by designing the culvert, wingwalls, and adjacent grading to avoid permanent impacts.

Using a combination of traditional survey methods and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Nitsch’s land surveyors performed a topographic, property line, and utility survey for half of an acre of the site.

Nitsch performed transportation engineering for the multi-use path and Conant Road, structural design of the pre-cast culvert, and the development of final design plans and project specifications. We worked closely with the Town to develop a detour route during construction for Conant Road that allowed accelerated construction techniques to minimize inconvenience to Town residents. We prepared a Wetlands Protection Act-compliant Notice of Intent to file with the Weston Conservation Commission and coordinated the design with the DCR, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), private utility owners, the Town, and the local rail trail committee. Nitsch performed construction administration services by attending regular project status field meetings, review contractor submittals, and Requests for Information (RFIs).

Key Collaborators

Owner: Town of Weston
Partner: DCR