MARION – The Marion Shared Use Path project has advanced to the critical procedural step of determining environmental impacts and submitting it to the state for review.
At a public meeting Wednesday, Jan. 31, at Marion Music Hall, project leaders from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, engineering firm HDR, and Foss Infrastructure and Environment answered questions and spoke about the planned 3.8. Presented information regarding the Miles Bikeway Expansion Environmental Notification Form.
The Shared Use Path Project is a proposed non-motorized use path from the Mattapoisett City Line in Marion to Point Road as part of the continued development of the South Coast Bikeway.
The project is expected to cost approximately $5.49 million and is being funded by a combination of Federal Highway Administration and Massachusetts funds. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2025, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
The environmental notification form examines the environmental impacts of the path and the resulting mitigation measures required. According to HDR project manager Kevin Slattery, this information is submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Law and is required when a “state or local government-owned project exceeds certain environmental impact thresholds.”
“Very importantly, environmental studies to date have not identified any impacts to areas of significant environmental concern,” Slattery said.
This includes designated wild and scenic rivers, historic resources, water supplies, wastewater resources, energy facilities, and air quality. Additionally, construction of the trail is not expected to impact air quality, historic or cultural assets, public water and groundwater supplies, or rare animal species.
“To support this, a special conservation plan will be implemented to protect the one species whose habitat is mapped within the project range,” Mr Slattery said.
Other environmental impact mitigation opportunities identified in this project include safety measures such as ADA compliance and stormwater management improvements such as “roadside wetlands and crushed stone ditches” and “grass potholes.” Mr Slattery said.
Joseph Yu, Massachusetts Department of Transportation project manager, said the next step for the project is a 10-day public comment period, which will include a meeting on Wednesday.
The environmental filing is scheduled to be filed with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Law on February 29th. Thereafter, the open period for public comment will be further extended, Yoo said.