Northampton bike path tunnel under railroad tracks celebrated at grand opening

The days when rail-trail cyclists would illegally carry their bicycles over the former Pan Am railroad tracks when traveling from Amherst to Northampton are over. Thursday morning, officials cut the ribbon on a $4.4 million two-lane cast concrete tunnel underneath the tracks, which are now owned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and actively used by freight lines and the high-speed Amtrak Vermonter. The bike tunnel connects the Norwottuck Rail Trail — which originates in Belchertown, goes through Amherst and Hadley, and crosses the Connecticut River — with rail trail networks in Northampton and Easthampton. The underpass actually opened in November after many years of planning.

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