Still Awaiting Beaver Street Right of Way
by John Dieckmann
Late in March, the city of Waltham released the request for proposals (RFP) for the detailed design of the Waltham segment of the Wayside (aka Mass Central) Rail Trail. I attended the bidders’ meeting, which was held at Waltham City Hall on April 13. It was well attended by about a dozen engineering and design firms, along with two Waltham city councilors, the executive director of the Waltham Land Trust and two board members, and the chairman of the Waltham Conservation Commission.
Design firms asked a variety of questions, primarily to obtain further definition of the scope of the effort. The city purchasing department and others provided the answers.
The RFP requests a complete detailed design of the main part of the trail from Beaver Street to Stow Street (just inside Route 128) and conceptual designs for the segments at the town borders, from Stowe Street to the Weston line and from Beaver Street to the Belmont line. The Beaver Street to Stowe Street section (about 3 miles in length) uses the abandoned Central Mass Railroad right of way. The RFP requires the design to meet DCR and MassDOT standards of eight road crossings at grade and the rehabilitation of two major bridges (over Linden Street and over Lyman Brook).
Stow Street to Weston is limited to conceptual design work because there is some uncertainty regarding possible future reconfiguration of the Route 117 (Main Street) overpass over Route 128. The Beaver Street-to-Belmont section so far lacks have a definite right of way, so the aim of the conceptual design will will assist with securing a right of way.
There seemed to be a high level of interest on the part of the engineering firms to pursue the project. The original April 21 deadline for proposals was extended to May 5 at the request of several firms.
The RFP specifies that a Wayside Trail Review Committee will be appointed to help to guide the design process (and will be involved in the process of selecting the engineering contractor). The committee will consist of one representative each from the mayor’s office, DCR, the Waltham City Council, the Waltham planning director, and the Waltham Land Trust.
The complete RFP and four addenda can be found at http://bit.ly/2qoIW99
John Dieckmann is a Belmont Town Meeting member and board member of the Waltham Land Trust and the Belmont Citizens Forum.