The South Coast Bikeway route through New Bedford is being coordinated by the New Bedford Bicycle Committee.
New Bedford Bicycle Committee: "Our mission is to advocate and increase awareness for bicyclists in the city of New Bedford who use their bikes for transportation and recreational activities. We strive to connect all of New Bedford by bike, allowing for a safe & enjoyable mode of transportation. In doing so, we hope to give bicyclists, runners, rollerbladers and all other pedestrians an alternate way to view the beauty of New Bedford from different vantage points. More importantly, we want to give greater access to those who choose an alternate mode of transportation to commute to work, play, & live more fully."
South Coast Bikeway Committee member:
Kimberly Ferreira, Kimberly.Ferreira@newbedford-ma.gov
Alternate: Jen Gonet, email@example.com
New Bedford Secures Funding for Clark’s Cove Section of Hurricane Barrier Pathway
MassDOT grant award will extend recreational pathway atop
the Clark’s Cove section of the hurricane barrier
New Bedford, Massachusetts – The City of New Bedford has successfully secured just over $5 million in state grant funding from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) for Phase II of the project to construct a recreational pathway atop New Bedford’s Hurricane Barrier. Phase II will extend the same type of recreational pathway residents and visitors have been enjoying on the HarborWalk to the Clark’s Cove portion of the barrier. The CoveWalk will provide public access to the waterfront where it has been obstructed by the stone barrier for more than fifty years and will offer spectacular elevated water views unlike anywhere else in the Northeast.
Shortly after taking office in 2012, Mayor Mitchell called for the reconnection of New Bedford’s waterfront with residential and downtown areas. A key element of the Mayor’s strategy was the construction of a pathway atop the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier.
The two segments of New Bedford’s famous Hurricane Barrier run along the base of New Bedford’s South End peninsula and protect the main harbor and Clark’s Cove from storm surges. Last fall, New Bedford restored public access along the harbor with the opening of the “HarborWalk”—a 3,400 foot long recreational pathway atop the portion of the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier that lines the city’s main harbor. Phase II of this project will extend the recreational pathway for an additional 4,800 feet along the Clark’s Cove portion of the structure on the west side of the peninsula.
In his recent State of the City Address, Mayor Mitchell reported that New Bedford had completed the design and secured permitting for the CoveWalk project and was relentlessly pursuing funding for construction from the state.
“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration and State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin in particular, for considering the City’s strong funding pitch and lending their support to the project,” said Mayor Mitchell who provided Secretary Pollack and Administrator Tinlin with tours of the Harborwalk last fall.
“I also want to thank Senator Mark Montigny and Representative Tony Cabral for their supportive phone calls,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell.
MassDOT will fund the project through a “force account,” (rather than as an earmarked project) which is a mechanism by which MassDOT reimburses municipalities for discrete capital projects.
Mayor Mitchell praised the City’s Department of Public Infrastructure (DPI) for its work in designing the project and obtaining the necessary federal and state approvals. “Through DPI’s hard work over the last three years, the project was “shovel ready” and therefore highly competitive for funding,” Mitchell said.
Mayor Mitchell added, “This announcement marks an important step toward achieving our long-term goal of ringing the city with a system of waterside trails that will enrich the quality of life in neighborhoods from the North End to the South End, raise property values, and draw visitors. Our connection to the water is New Bedford’s greatest asset and we must seize this and grow our city’s reputation as a place with a unique and extensive connection to the water.”
Senator Montigny, who led Senate efforts to secure state funding for the $5 million project, remarked that, “The swift completion of this walkway will expand neighborhood access to our waterfront and highlight one of the most beautiful ocean vistas along the entire East Coast. This long overdue amenity for our residents will foster a further appreciation for our shorelines that have been shielded from public view for over fifty years.”
“New Bedford Harbor is one of the natural wonders of Massachusetts and today’s state grant will help everyone, local residents and visitors, better experience it,” said State Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral. “I will continue to work with the City to ensure that the Harbor is something all residents can enjoy.”
"The addition of the hurricane walking path along West Rodney French Boulevard and Cove Road will only increase the beauty and charm of New Bedford," said Joseph P. Lopes, Ward 6 City Councilor.
New Bedford is also moving ahead with the Riverwalk along the Acushnet River in the North End of the harbor. Although the Riverwalk project will take more time as it is proceeding side-by-side with the EPA’s harbor cleanup, the design phase is complete.
About The Harborwalk
The Harborwalk is a 3,400 foot long recreational pathway built atop the portion of the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier that lines the city’s harbor. Construction of the Harborwalk was completed in the fall of 2015 by the City’s Department of Public Infrastructure, contractor P.A. Landers and Seguin Enterprises.
The Harborwalk is 3,400 feet long, 14 inches thick and contains 1,500 cubic yards of concrete. Workers installed 6,800 feet of custom-made aluminum railing, and 26,840 feet of electrical wiring to supply power to the 164 light fixtures that illuminate the pathway after sunset.
The Harborwalk connects with a bike path that extends along the waterfront down to the tip of the city’s southern peninsula and into Fort Taber Park. Fort Taber Park is a 50-acre waterfront park that provides over a mile of ocean frontage and overlooks Buzzards Bay. The park incorporates historical landmarks, offers many amenities and various opportunities for passive and active recreation. With the completion of Phase II, The Covewalk, it will also link to the existing walkway along West Rodney French Boulevard.
As a tribute to the importance of the hurricane barrier to the city, workers stamped a hurricane insignia into the concrete pathway and inscribed the names and dates of hurricanes that have tested the barrier.
History of the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier
In 1962, construction of the hurricane barrier across New Bedford Harbor began in an effort to greatly minimize the destructive effects of flood waters associated with severe storms. Dedicated in 1966, the hurricane barrier remains the largest manmade structure on the east coast of the United States and provides security for industries, the fishing fleet, and hundreds of homes in residential neighborhoods. The Harbor Barrier and Dike have protected New Bedford and the neighboring communities of Acushnet and Fairhaven from storm surge but, the dike portion of the structure—a massive 18 foot high, 4,600 foot stone wall—has limited public access to the water.