MassDOT has recommended that the McCarthy Overpass portion of McGrath Highway be grounded and the roadway developed into a Boulevard that reconnects East Somerville, Union Square and Brickbottom. Project managers released the recommendation during a May 15 public meeting in Somerville to discuss the Grounding McGrath Study.
A multiyear planning study examining multiple alternatives concluded this approach best balances local and regional needs in the McGrath Highway corridor and area neighborhoods. The recommended plan preserves continuity at Washington Street, while enhancing pedestrian and bicycle connections. This option will also create a new connection from McGrath Highway northbound to Somerville Avenue and Union Square, providing full access in all directions at that location. The removal of the overpass will allow for wider sidewalks, bicycle paths, added green space that will help spur redevelopment and enhance existing uses along the corridor.
“Our decision to go with the boulevard option reflects the strong desire to integrate more, and healthier, modes of transportation into our highway network,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola. “Investing public dollars into projects like this will catalyze private development, which creates jobs and economic activity, which will benefit Somerville for the next generation.”
MassDOT worked with the Cities of Somerville and Cambridge, community leaders, advocacy groups and elected officials to develop recommendations through the involvement of the Grounding McGrath Study Working Group.
A Health Impact Assessment in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health concluded that the Boulevard option offers a great opportunity for mobility and access.
The study’s recommendations also support other efforts adjacent to the Route 28 Corridor, including the MBTA Green Line Extension to Somerville and Medford; the Somerville Community Path; the NorthPoint development in Cambridge; and the City of Somerville's planning efforts in Inner Belt, Brickbottom and Union Square.