SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 17, 2013

Rail trail brush clearing part of Danvers Electric maintenance plan

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — If you noticed some brush cutting and tree trimming on the Danvers Rail Trail last week, it was Danvers Electric conducting its annual maintenance along the right-of-way, Senior Planner Kate Day said in an email.

“The process was expected to take about two weeks, and in the end took two days,” Day said. The tree work began at the Peabody line and, with the help of a police detail, sections of the trail were closed as crews from contractor Mayer Tree Service headed north to trim brush under utility lines.

“The Rail Trail Advisory Committee is aware that not all abutters and trail users understand our Electric Division’s position that a consistent annual program of vegetation management under their lines is essential to keep lines clear and assure good service,” Day wrote. Both the Electric Division and the rail trail share the old railroad bed, and Danvers Electric’s use of it “significantly predates the rail trail.” The rail trail committee’s role in these brush maintenance matters is an advisory one to the town’s electric utility.

The rail trail committee and Danvers Electric have a good working relationship, said Utility Director Coleen O’Brien-Pitts. She said the maintenance of utility lines dates back to when trains still rolled along the corridor. Brush cutting is necessary to allow utility trucks access to the lines, and it is done “for safety and reliability” of the system. Sections of the trail/utility corridor are closed when there are crews cutting brush or working on lines for safety.

“It’s not without policy,” said O’Brien-Pitts. A vegetation management plan can be found on the town’s website, www.danvers.govoffice.com. Go to the “Departments tab,” then hover over “Danvers Electric” to get a drop-down menu and chose “Row (Right of Way).”

When maintenance work is being done on the trail, it is also posted on the Danvers Rail Trail website, www.danversrailtrail.org.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.