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Project Profile

Norwottuck Branch Rail Trail Boardwalk

Filed under: Boardwalks, Massachusetts


The Norwottuck Rail Trail is an 11-mile path that links several towns along the former Boston & Maine Railway. Due to a dangerous tunnel entrance, the Massachusetts DOT path was being realigned. A nearby stream and environmental permitting restrictions required engineers to evaluate boardwalk options for a portion of the trail near Hadley, Mass. With New England’s harsh winters, a durable, low maintenance solution was also necessary.


The bike trail’s curved alignment and downhill gradient concerned designers about slippery wood surfaces, so PermaTrak’s textured concrete options were ideal. The path is a popular recreation spot for walkers, runners, and bikers. A PermaTrak boardwalk could accommodate a sizable width and was durable enough to handle the heavy traffic.

“Another factor in our decision was PermaTrak’s ability to assist with the foundation design and detailed design of concrete components,” MassDOT Design Engineer Douglas White said. The new PermaTrak boardwalk has received positive feedback from the public and White expects the boardwalk to stand up to the Northeast’s harsh winters for years to come.

Location: Hadley, MA
Designer: Massachusetts DOT
Contractor: C&A Construction Co. Inc.

Technical Description

Boardwalk Length(s): 128 ft.
Tread Width(s): 13 ft. 3 in.
Color: Savannah Brown
Texture: Sandblast
Installation Date: May 2014