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DCR Promises a Smoother Ride Is Coming Soon to the Southwest Corridor

A small patch of fresh asphalt on a bike path running through the dappled shade of trees in the Southwest Corridor park

In the days leading up to the Orange Line closure, the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) rushed to repair broken sections of pavement on the Southwest Corridor paths with fresh asphalt; however, trail users found that the new patches were still unusually bumpy. DCR will return this spring to make more permanent repairs by milling and repaving the most damaged sections. Photo by Grecia White.

Bicyclists will soon have a smoother ride along the Southwest Corridor after rushed repairs ahead of the Orange Line shutdown last month left many bumpy patches of fresh pavement along the popular bikeway.

Originally, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, DCR, the agency who manages the corridor, “had been planning to go out and do pretty extensive repairs for the Southwest Corridor in August and September, before we learned about the Orange Line shutdown,” said Gerald Autler, DCR Director of Trails and Greenways, at the monthly meeting of the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board this Wednesday.

“(The shutdown) caught us a little by surprise,” he added.

During the first weekend of the shutdown, in anticipation of a bicycling surge along the popular bikeway, the agency sent out a contractor to repair the most problematic areas, like the section by Stony Brook station, where cracked pavement has caused bike crashes, according to Autler.

While the repairs did patch over cracks along the trail where tree roots had broken through the asphalt, the transitions between the new patches and the older asphalt were still bumpy, something Mayor Wu made note of during one of her bike commutes from Roslindale to downtown:

Autler reported that beginning next week, a work crew will return to the corridor to complete the repairs, working in sections and closing only one segment at a time in an effort to minimize disruption to users.

Bike traffic may be rerouted to the secondary pathways in the Southwest Corridor where possible.

“In other places, people might need to walk their bike on the sidewalk for the length of that segment, but we’ll communicate that as clearly as possible,” Autler explained.

The planned repair work includes:

    • milling and repaving some segments
    • saw-cutting the temporary fixes and creating a flush surface
    • removing the cobblestones, a safety hazard near intersections
    • fixing up or removing some concrete sections

The repair work is anticipated to take place over the course of a week.

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