MassDOT will hold an Advisory Group Meeting for the Back Bay Ramps Transportation Study on:
Tuesday June 12, 6:00-8:00 pm, Boston Public Library Mezzanine Conference Room, 700 Boylston Street
The study will investigate the potential for new or altered access to and from the regional express highway network in downtown Boston, with a primary focus on the Back Bay.
The meeting will begin with a presentation analysis of the four Massachusetts Turnpike ramp alternatives advanced through the study’s initial screening, including details of the expected changes in traffic patterns and impacts that would result from the construction of each ramp alternative.
The presentation will also include a discussion of the future plans for the Bowker Overpass, which provides connections over the Massachusetts Turnpike and Commonwealth Avenue between Storrow Drive and the Emerald Necklace. The presentation will address the planned project to repair the Bowker Overpass and preliminary design concepts for new alignments for the overpass.
MassDOT initiated the Back Bay Ramps Transportation Study to investigate the potential for new or altered access to and from the regional express highway network. The initial focus of the study was on ramp connections to and from the Massachusetts Turnpike in the segment between the Allston Tolls and Interstate 93. MassDOT developed seven ramp alternatives for initial screening that were presented to the Advisory Group in June 2011. With input from the Advisory Group at that meeting, the four alternatives listed after the break below were selected for additional analysis and design.
Alternative 1: Construction of a new I-90 westbound off-ramp to Berkeley Street with closure of the existing I-90 westbound on-ramp from Arlington Street.
Alternative 2: Construction of a new I-90 westbound off-ramp to Trinity Place with closure of the existing I-90 westbound on-ramps from Clarendon Street and Arlington Street.
Alternative 3: Construction of a new I-90 westbound off-ramp to Brookline Avenue.
Alternative 4: Construction of a new I-90 eastbound on-ramp from the Bowker Overpass northbound.
Following the selection of the alternatives for additional analysis and design, MassDOT engaged the Central Transportation Planning Staff to determine expected changes in traffic patterns that would result from each alternative utilizing the Eastern Massachusetts Travel Demand Model. The results of those analyses will be presented at the June 12th meeting.
Throughout the course of the study, the public has expressed interest in the future of the Bowker Overpass, which passes over the Muddy River as it connects Storrow Drive with the Charlesgate Roadways and Boylston Street. A number of community organizations have proposed plans to downgrade the structure to a surface road or to remove it entirely.
Given the proximity of the Bowker Overpass to the study area of the Back Bay Ramps Transportation Study and the critical interaction between new Turnpike ramps, the Bowker Overpass, and Storrow Drive access, MassDOT has expanded the study scope to include a preliminary analysis of alternative alignments for the Bowker Overpass. This preliminary analysis will be able to show the anticipated changes in traffic patterns and will help MassDOT and the public better understand the likely impacts.
The discussion at the June 12th meeting will focus on the preliminary design concepts for the Bowker Overpass that are most feasible and that serve the community objectives for the future of the structure. MassDOT staff will also be available to discuss the planned construction project to repair the Bowker Overpass.
For further information on the I-90 Boston Ramps Transportation Study, please refer to the project website at http://www.mass.gov/massdot/bostonramps.