The Route 30 bridge section of the Cochituate Rail Trail has unofficially opened about 2 years after a groundbreaking ceremony took place on the site of what is now emerging as a tree-lined connection between Natick Center and Framingham that avoids dangerous road crossings.
The contractor has yet to hand over management of Natick’s portion of the trail to the town, and is still working on striping and other work along the trail. In other words, you could possibly show up at the Rte. 30 bridge and find it closed for work.
I swung by this week to run on the trail between Old Connecticut Path in Framingham and Rte. 9 in Natick. I parked at a sort of cul-de-sac at the end of Chrysler Road, a Speen Street offshoot that goes between Home Depot and the Avalon residential complex (there are no signs in this circle saying you can or can’t park). There’s lots of parking at Home Depot, too, but I didn’t say that.
You’ll be greeted, as you enter the trail at this point (about the 2.2-mile mark) with an informational sign that I’m proud to say features a couple of photos shared by one of our sons and credited to him and Natick Report! I totally forgot about them until I happened across the sign and said, wait a minute, that looks familiar…
Heading toward Framingham you’ll soon hit the Rte. 30 bridge, heads into a Framingham stretch that allows you to veer off into wooded trails (Cochituate Brook Reservation Trail) or continue across Old Connecticut Path onto another brief stretch into Saxonville. The rail trail itself is wide and smoothly paved, allowing walkers, wheelchair users, runners, and cyclists all to navigate it.
I used to dream about taking the rail trail to my old job, but the trail took its time coming and in the meantime I got whacked a few years ago from that job in a cost-cutting move. Since then, the company has moved anyway.
Circling back over the bridge and past my point of origin, the trail currently extends to the Rte. 9 bridge. The fences are still up around it, but the bridge should open by the end of summer.
Overall, I tallied just over 3 miles, but you can get in over 4 by going to the Saxonville endpoint and back).
In between you’ll hit the Wonderbread spur, an homage to the former baked good factory located nearby and the trail’s only rotary. Following the spur will take you to various furniture and other less tasty stores on Speen Street.
As you head toward Rte. 9, Lake Cochituate will be on your left. You’ll see the beach, Camp Arrowhead, as well as Natick AMVETS Post 79, which is a fun place to grab a bite and drink if you’re a member or connected to one.
I hesitated to include this video of me running across the Rte. 30 bridge, since it makes the structure look more like a swaying rope bridge than the sturdy construction it surely is, but have at it if you wish.
Rte 30 bridge open on Cochituate Rail Trail. The bridge was not swaying, just me holding phone while running pic.twitter.com/TVv26cG6ek
— Natick Report (@NatickReport) July 14, 2021
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