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View of I-90 Allston Interchange with project area highlighted.

View of I-90 Allston Interchange with project area highlighted.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced that the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the I-90 Allston Interchange Improvement Project was filed yesterday with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Information on how to obtain an electronic copy of the DEIR is posted on the project website; the project team will present and discuss the DEIR at three upcoming public meetings; and paper copies of the DEIR will be provided to the Copley, Faneuil, Honan-Allston, and Brighton branches of the Boston Public Library, the State Library of Massachusetts, and the Main and Central Square branches of the Cambridge Public Library.

In response to public requests, MassDOT has extended the public comment period to January 19, 2018, so that all interested parties will have ample time to review the document and provide detailed input. MassDOT will use the public feedback to continue to refine the proposals laid out in the DEIR.

“The filing of the Draft Environmental Impact Report is a major milestone for the Allston I-90 Interchange Improvement Project, and reflects our commitment to modernizing outdated transportation infrastructure. We are grateful to the many people and organizations who have contributed to the development of the DEIR over the past three-and-a-half years,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We look forward to receiving public feedback on the DEIR, and will continue to advance the project by refining the design, developing a finance plan, and coordinating with stakeholders to replace a deteriorated elevated roadway with modern highway infrastructure that also supports walking, biking, and public transit in the surrounding neighborhood.”

Three design options for replacing the I-90 Allston Viaduct are detailed in the DEIR:

  • Replacing the current Allston viaduct within its existing ‘footprint’ and shifting the existing railroad infrastructure beneath the structure while keeping the rail at-grade.
  • Removing the current Allston viaduct and replacing it with an at-grade highway and an elevated railroad viaduct.
  • Removing the current Allston viaduct and replacing it with an at-grade highway and maintaining the rail infrastructure at-grade.

The current viaduct structure carries several lanes of the Massachusetts Turnpike into and out of downtown Boston. The viaduct is the primary route of vehicular travel from Western Massachusetts and Central Massachusetts into and from Boston.  The viaduct is outmoded and deteriorated, and MassDOT annually spends approximately $800,000 to maintain the viaduct in usable condition.  The viaduct currently is safe for travel.

The replacement project is now at approximately 15% design, with final design anticipated to be complete during 2019, when MassDOT would seek to procure a construction contractor. Construction work and related activities would then be expected to begin in 2020.

For several years, MassDOT has hosted regular meetings of a public Task Force in order to vet all aspects of the project elements with neighborhood residents, representatives of local organizations, and regional transportation stakeholders.  Since the inception of the project, MassDOT has held approximately 30 Task Force and public meetings.

MassDOT will now host three public meetings in order to present information on the DEIR and receive feedback:

 Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 6:30 p.m., Jackson-Mann Community Center, 500 Cambridge Street, Allston

Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 7:00 p.m., Brookline, Pierce Elementary School, 50 School St

Wednesday, January 3, 2018, 6:30 p.m., The Morse School, 40 Granite Street, Cambridge

For more information, including information about how to obtain a copy of the DEIR, please visit the project website.

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