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News » US » Massachusetts revisits plan for I-90 project » published 3 Jul 2018

Massachusetts revisits plan for I-90 project

Two key aspects of the planned I-90 Allston Intermodal Project are to be reviewed, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced.

The decision was announced at a meeting of the Allston I-90 Intermodal Project Task Force Above: The decision was announced at a meeting of the Allston I-90 Intermodal Project Task Force

The current viaduct structure carries 150,000 vehicles each day into and out of downtown Boston. It is outmoded and structurally deficient; MassDOT spends approximately US$800,000 a year maintain the structure in usable condition.  

MassDOT is looking into the design of the ‘throat’ section of the highway along the Charles River and when to construct a new regional transit hub at West Station.

The decision was announced at a meeting of the Allston I-90 Intermodal Project Task Force. Transportation secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack has said that a decision on a preferred alternative design of the throat section will be deferred until after completion of the 90-day review by an independent consultant team. “We will take a hard look at the benefits and challenges of building the highway on the ground or on an elevated viaduct,” she said.

The review team consists of engineers, designers and permitting specialist, who will analyze improved versions of viaduct and at-grade options for the throat.

At the same time, MassDOT is undertaking two collaborative studies of transit and mobility needs now and in the future throughout the Allston/Beacon Park Yards area. One is a study of long-term potential land use and public transit outcomes to be developed by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The other is six-month study of immediate transit needs in the Allston area.

The additional transit analysis will help inform a decision on when to build West Station and make future transit investments. Pollack said: “The proposed West Station is the staging area for reconstructing the Massachusetts Turnpike, meaning that the station cannot physically be built prior to 2025 when construction activities are expected to be completed.”  

She added: “MassDOT will re-phase this project to start construction of West Station as soon as it is both possible and sensible.”

While the independent review is carried out, MassDOT project team members will continue to advance other aspects of the project including environmental review work and technical tasks such as field surveying and geotechnical investigations.

The final environmental impact report for the Allston I-90 Intermodal Project is currently expected to be filed in spring 2019. MassDOT would then carry out the process to procure a design-build construction contractor in 2020.

The independent review will analyze areas of each potential throat section design such as ‘constructability’, environmental impacts, resiliency, geometry, risk and cost. The independent team will receive feedback from key stakeholders and members of the project task force.


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This article was published on 3 Jul 2018 (last updated on 3 Jul 2018).

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