MassDOT’s Patriot Corridor Clearance Project

MADOT UNVEILS "PATRIOT CORRIDOR DOUBLE-STACK CLEARANCE PROJECT" TO TACKLE 23 HEIGHT OBSTRUCTIONS ON PAS, TO QUALIFY ROUTE AS A LAND BRIDGE.

MADOT Patriot Corridor Initiative

Patriot Corridor Survey

In 2012, USDOT allocated $16.9 million for 12 projects nationwide designed to relocate, replace or improve segments of track. The funds were distributed through the FRA Rail Line Relocation and Improvement grant program.

Of those funds, MADOT received $2 million for the Patriot Corridor double-stack clearance initiative, to  conduct a 360º laser clearance survey of the entire 155-mile corridor, verify identified obstructions, and recommend engineering solutions to clear the corridor for double-stack train operation between Mechanicville NY and Ayer MA. In addition, MADOT conducted an aerial survey, site inspections, and geotechnical probes of the identified obstruction sites.

The FRA-funded survey identified 19 obstructions, including two tunnels and 17 roadway, rail and pedestrian bridges. A follow-up survey, conducted by MADOT in 2019 using more advanced LiDAR technology, identified four additional obstructions, bringing the total number of Patriot Corridor Clearance Project recommendations to 23.

Recommendations by location

Town/City PAS Railroad Identification Recommendation
1. Pownal, VT Hoosick River Bridge Truss Modifications
2. Williamstown, MA Route 7 (Simonds Road) Track Undercut
3. North Adams, MA Appalachian Trail (Pedestrian Bridge) Bridge Modifications
4. North Adams, MA Little Tunnel Track Undercut
5. North Adams, MA Furnace Street (Pedestrian Bridge) Track Undercut
6. North Adams, MA State Street (Route 8) Track Undercut
7. North Adams, MA Hoosic River Truss Modify Bridge Deck/Floor Beams
8. Florida, MA Hoosac Tunnel Track Cut/Crown Raise
9. Greenfield, MA Conn River RR / PAR ML Track Undercut
10. Montague, MA Northfield Road Track Undercut
11. Montague, MA NECR (CV) Railroad Track Undercut
12. Montague, MA Bridge Street Truss (AKA Hill Street) Track Undercut
13. Orange, MA South Main Street Bridge Deck Replacement
14. Orange, MA Brookside Road (AKA Athol Street) Bridge Replacement
15. Athol, MA Main Street (Route 2A) Track Cut/Bridge Mod
16. Athol, MA Chestnut Hill Avenue Track Shifts/Bridge Reconstruction
17. Templeton, MA Main Street (AKA Depot Road) Track Undercut
18. Gardner, MA Jackson Street (AKA Pleasant Street) Track Undercut
19. Fitchburg, MA Rollstone Street Track Undercut
20. Fitchburg, MA Putnam Street Track Cut/Bridge Mod
21. Fitchburg, MA Water Street Track Cut/Bridge Mod
22. Leominster, MA Harvard Street Track Undercut
23. Ayer, MA Main Street (Route 2A) Track Undercut

Next step: Environmental review

The next step is to complete the environmental review required by the FRA’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). MassDOT is working with the FRA to prepare the required documentation (a Categorical Exclusion) for NEPA.