BLACKSTONE RIVER BIKEWAY; MA

 ROUTE 146 CONNECTOR LETTERBOX:

BLACKSTONE-WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Planted:                June 22, 2005

Last Updated:       September 3, 2016

Length:                 Blackstone River Bikeway; Millbury-Worcester section: 3 miles

                              Blackstone River Bikeway; Worcester On-road section: 2.3 miles

                              Blackstone River Bikeway; Blackstone-Millville section: 3.7 miles

Difficulty:            Blackstone River Bikeway; Millbury-Worcester section: Moderate. Paved trail, but hilly.

                              Blackstone River Bikeway; Blackstone-Millville section: Easy. Paved rail trail.

Directions:

To start from the McCracken Road parking lot; From I-90, take exit 10A. Take Route 146 south to the Route 122A exit. Turn right at the end of the ramp head east on McCracken Rd to the parking lot which is located just down from the exit ramp on your right. Coming from Route 146 northbound, take the Route 122A exit. Turn right at the end of the ramp and the parking lot is located on your right.

To start from the Millbury Street parking lot; From I-90, take exit 10A. Take Route 146 north to the Ballard St/Millbury St exit and head south down Millbury St. The parking lot is located on your right, across from Cliff St.

To start from the Canal Street parking lot (Blackstone); From Route 146 take the Forestdale/Slatersville exit to Route 146A and head southeast. Turn left on St Paul St and travel 1.5 miles into Massachusetts turning left on Canal St. The parking lot will be on your left.

To start from the Millville Lock parking lot (Millville); From Route 146 take exit 1 to Route 146A and head south to Route 5 (Central St). Turn left and travel 1.1 miles to Hope St and the parking lot.

The Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor is a special type of National Park. It is a region that covers nearly 400,000 acres located from Worcester County in Massachusetts down to Providence County in Rhode Island. The Federal government does not own or manage the land, instead, along with the two state governments, local municipalities, businesses and many local organizations, they work to protect the Valley’s special identity. The Blackstone River Bikeway traverses this corridor running from Worcester to Providence. See; Blackstone Canal TowpathBlackstone River Bikeway; RI . For more information visit;  BLACKSTONE HERITAGE CORRIDOR .

MILLBURY-WORCESTER SECTION:

Starting from the McCracken Road parking lot in Millbury; The trail currently only heads north, so cross over the off-ramp for Route 146. A cross light has been installed. Travel across Route 146 via the separate bridge that has been attached to the auto bridge. Notice the bridges color scheme of purple. All along this trail, the bridges have a color scheme and some interesting iron work. The bridge takes you over Route 146 and the Blackstone River, then underneath Route 122A and down alongside the river. On your right is where the old McCracken Bridge used to cross the river. A new blue access bridge is now in its place. A blue metal fence guides you between the river on your right and the active railroad tracks to your left. Lots of River Birch trees along the river. Next, you'll cross over the Worchester Flood Diversion Channel flowing into the river via two blue painted trestle bridges at a 1/2 mile. An active railroad bridge crosses here as well on your left. Just shy of  3/4 miles you will come to a blue trestle bridge over the river. Before you cross it, walk left down a path to the metal fence. Note; It has been reported that the path leading to the stone wall has a lot of Poison Ivy. May be best to go in the Spring or Fall. Follow this fence right to where it ends and spot an Oak tree here. From the backside of this tree, facing the railroad tracks, take a compass reading of  260 degrees. This should direct you to the high point in a stone wall, just left of another Oak tree. There are some old railroad ties on top of the wall (Note; they may get removed at some future time, so don't panic if you don't see them). In the middle of the wall, remove the 2 flat rocks on end to reveal the Blackstone River; Route 146 Connector Letterbox. Continue over the iron trestle bridge, which was constructed in 1887, although I don't know if it's original to here. After passing through open fields you travel underneath I-90 and then a second blue overpass where the trail heads down next to the river. If you look left you can see the large rail yard for the Providence & Worcester Railroad. After passing under Route 20 & Route 146 (green bridges), you travel up to a spur trail at 1.2 miles. 

Note; Right takes you up to Route 20 east.

You'll cross over a boundary marker separating Millbury and Worchester and come to a second spur trail at 1.4 miles.

Note; This trail takes you up to Route 20 west.

You'll reach the Millbury Road parking lot at 1.5 miles. A map board is located here but only shows the section of trail located in Worchester. Next you'll cross a green iron bridge over some wetlands and follow a nice wooden fence with the Blackstone River on your left. After traveling underneath Route 146 (green bridge), the trail then parallels Route 146 on your right and railroad tracks to your left.. This area is full of wildflowers and other plantings. Travel underneath the green Blackstone River Road Bridge and come to an intersection at 2.3 miles.

Note; A spur trail right takes you up to Blackstone River Rd.

Continue straight alongside the river past the shopping plaza to a crosswalk over the access road. You then cross over the river and come to McKeon St where the paved trail ends shy of 3 miles. 

WORCESTER ON-ROAD SECTION:

To continue to Union Station in Worcester and the start of the Blackstone River Bikeway, you'll need to travel on-road. Head left across the RR tracks where you'll find a cross-light (Busy road). Then head back across the tracks and turn left along the access road. Travel across the river and bear right to the red pedestrian bridge at 3.1 miles.

Note; The large grass lot you passed next to the Middle River is the future location for the Middle River/Blackstone Gateway Park. That area is part of Middle River Park and Quinsigamond Village where the Middle River and Mill Brook flow together to create the Blackstone River.

Cross the pedestrian bridge over Route 146 to Vernon and Millbury Streets. Travel right on-road along Millbury St (shoulder gets wider/sidewalk available). Millbury St parallels Route 146. Travel up and over a hill past 5th Ave. Just past Whitney Ave you'll come to a crosswalk at 4 miles. Head left across Millbury St to a wide sidewalk that takes you underneath I-290 to Quinsigamond Ave. Head right underneath the off-ramp and you come to Old Millbury St. Travel on-road along Old Millbury St. When you pass Ashmont Ave at 4.2 miles you continue along a Bike Lane through an urban corridor. Use Caution when you reach Kelly Square. A couple of crosswalks will get you across this heavily traveled traffic circle to Water St. This is a one-way street, so the Bike Lane is on the left side of the street. Come to another busy intersection after 5 miles for Grafton and Winter Streets. A couple of crosswalks on your right will get you over Grafton St to a sidewalk underneath  I-290. Continue straight (north) on-road along Grafton St. Travel underneath a RR bridge and you'll come to a traffic circle at 5.3 miles. To your left is Union Station in Worcester and the start of the Blackstone River Bikeway. Be sure to check out the interior of this 1911 granite structure with its marble walls and domed ceiling. MBTA Station that travels to Boston.

Note; If you are starting your trip from Union Station in Worcester, Travel south on-road along Grafton St. When you reach Temple St you'll need to head right (Bike Lane). Turn left on Harding St (One-way/Bike Lane/wide street) and Use Caution when crossing Madison St at Kelly Square. Here you'll find an informational board about the Blackstone Canal. Continue along Harding St (One-way), passing by Crompton Park before merging with Old Millbury St and Quinsigamond Ave where you travel left underneath I-290 to Millbury St. Head right up Millbury St until you come to the red pedestrian bridge that will take you over I-290. Head left out to McKeon St where the paved trail begins.

BLACKSTONE-MILLVILLE SECTION:

Still under construction September 2016.

Starting from the Canal Street parking lot (Blackstone); This section of the Blackstone River Bikeway follows the old rail bed of the former New Haven Railroad's Midland Division and is part of the Southern New England Trunkline Trail .

Note; Heading south the trail crosses an old RR bridge over St Paul St where it currently ends. Future plans call for continuing the trail south via an old RR bridge over the old Blackstone Canal and Canal St towards the RI border.

Heading north you immediately cross an old RR bridge over the Blackstone River. To your left an active RR crosses the river. Cross another old RR bridge over Canal St followed by a bridge over an access path/road? Another bridge over Main St brings you past a small pocket playground at 0.3 miles. Here you can access the town of Blackstone. Travel through a tunnel underneath Church St followed by two more bridges over a fork of the Blackstone River (Head Pond). Another tunnel takes you underneath Main St at 1.3 miles before coming to the Triad Bridge at 1.5 miles. Here you cross over the Blackstone River and an active RR bridge on an old RR bridge. Looking right you'll see the old abutments for a third RR bridge that crossed overhead (Built in the late 1800's, this tiered bridge crisscrosses the Blackstone River at three different heights to allow three railroad lines to intersect and cross the Blackstone River). Come to a bike rack at 1.9 miles.

Note; Here a gravel path leads down to the old stone Millville Lock (1828) next to the Blackstone River.

Continuing along the trail you'll pas by an old cement RR Whistle marker before coming to the Millville Lock parking lot at 2.4 miles. Cross Central St where the trail travels through a more residential corridor. Pass through a deep rock cut underneath some power transmission lines at 3.3 miles before crossing a high berm. The trail then turns off the old rail bed bringing you down to Adams St and the end of the trail at 3.7 miles. The old SNETT crosses Route 146A before terminating at Route 146.

 HH

CLICK HERE FOR MAP

CLICK HERE FOR MILLVILLE LOCK & TRIAD BRIDGE MAP

 

LETTERBOX LAST VERIFIED ON

JULY 4, 2016

TO EMAIL A VERIFICATION

letterbox@snet.net 

 

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