Officials of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and the Metropolitan District Commission met yesterday in Carey Cage in an occasionally comic and often bitter hearing sponsored by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The hearing concerned eight acres of the Charles River which the Turnpike Authority wants to fill in to use as a roadbed for its proposed toll road extension into Boston.
The Turnpike Authority claimed the land last December by right of eminent domain, but the MDC has petitioned the State Supreme court for an injunction declaring the seizure invalid.
Col. Robert Hyzer, chairman of the hearing, emphasized that because it was an Army hearing, only questions concerning navigation could appropriately enter the debate. Neither side, however, kept to this limit, although each in its closing statement bitterly accused the other of unfairly straying from the topic.
The Turnpike Authority, armed with the pressure of its powerful commissioner William J. Callahan, presented five witnesses who explained the need for seizing the land, and also presented an alternate plan which would protect the interests of local boating groups.
Bolles at Hearing
But Thomas D. Bolles, the University's director of athletics, would not endorse the Authority's proposals because he was not certain that they would prove beneficial to Crimson crews.
The MDC launched its attack with a speech by commissioner Robert F. Murphy, who complained about hurricane floods and the Authority's landscape architect. Testifying next, Murphy's engineering assistant gave detailed explanations of tides and hurricanes; and Arthur Sullivan, director of waterways and canals, warned that the Harvard crew would find itself marooned on a quickly drying swamp if the Authority's plan is accepted.
The Army Corps of Engineers will make a decision on the land within the next two weeks.
Permission to use Carey Cage for the hearing was given to the Army Corps of Engineers by the Athletic Department. University buildings are generally not need for such public hearings.