Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Finer Points of Grading

The contractors were busy this week doing finish grading of the RecPath between Rt. 108 and Oak Valley Road. They were placing gravel and compacting it with a roller so it forms a firm durable surface that's good for walking, biking and is handicapped-accessible.

The RecPath has to curve a lot to preserve trees and other vegetation while maintaining gentle grades for handicapped-accessibility. This makes the route a bit more interesting than many of the other rail-to-trail bikepaths that you might find in New England. The RecPath has a lot of gentle curves so it's enjoyable for biking and walking.

Here's a close up of the finished surface. When we were doing public hearings about the project most of the feedback that we received was that people wanted a "natural" surface for the RecPath as opposed to asphalt, so that is what is being constructed. The goal is to make something that will blend in with the greenway, and make a solid surface for the multi-use path.

The contractors have brought a variety of equipment to use in placing the finish surface, and then they compact the processed gravel with the vibratory roller. They used larger equipment to rough grade the RecPath and smaller equipment to finish it. Boy, would the Trails Committee kill to own that little mini-excavator.

Here's another view out along the powerlines. The RecPath was sited along existing hiking trails and woods roads to minimize cutting of some of the mountain laurel. This section should look really pretty in June when the laurel is blooming.

This is the view going toward Oak Valley Road. This section of the RecPath passes near vernal pools where you can hear the spring peepers and wood frogs peeping and quacking up a racket this time of year.


  1. The contractor has finished Phase 2A from Route 108 to Oak Valley Road. They are on to the section from the Lane Street Meadow to Wesley Drive.

    ps: Terrance, what small feet you have.

  2. That's why I need a solid surface to walk the dog on. I sink in the mud duck hunting. And one of my favorite bands is Little Feat.