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Mass. Department of Transportation Updates Allston Residents on Infrastructure Plan

Soldiers Field Road runs alongside the Charles River.
Soldiers Field Road runs alongside the Charles River. By Zing Gee
By Taylor C. Peterman, Crimson Staff Writer

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Fiscal and Management Control Board held a meeting on Feb. 10 to update Allston residents and address public concern surrounding its ten-year infrastructure plan for the area.

The plan — known as the Allston Multimodal Project — will replace the Allston viaduct and straighten the Massachusetts Turnpike. It also includes plans to shrink the Allston interchange, improve multimodal connections, and create a new stop on the Worcester/Framingham Commuter Line called West Station.

The concept for the project originated in spring 2014 and has been developed by MassDOT and its design team, which is also working to file a final environmental impact statement for the plan.

MassDOT Communications Director Kristen E. Pennucci wrote in an emailed statement that construction should begin over the next several years and should last for approximately eight to ten years, according to MassDOT.

“Environmental filings for the project are targeted for completion in the end of 2021 with the goal of beginning construction in late 2022,” she wrote.

The update presented at the Feb. 10 meeting listed the track configuration at West Station, minimization of single track operations during construction, and environmental policy as “current areas of focus.”

Pennucci wrote that plans for West Station are currently under review as engineers determine which configuration will better accommodate transportation services.

“The project team is reassessing the 3-track station and a 4-track configuration to ensure that West Station is robust enough to accommodate the commuter rail services and urban transit service envisioned in the planning study,” she wrote.

The meeting’s agenda also included a report on the “major themes of agency and public comment.”

Local residents have raised concerns about adverse impacts the project may have on the community, particularly regarding congestion.

Anthony P. D’Isidoro, an Allston resident, said he hopes to see a mitigation plan in place to prevent excessive traffic and enable more efficient travel.

“We are gonna have a perfect storm of congestion as far as the eyes can see if we don’t take steps now to help minimize that,” D’Isidoro said.

Allston resident Harry E. Mattison said there needs to be a greater focus on transit as the project moves forward.

“I think there’s a really strong feeling that there needs to be much stronger reliance on transit for this project,” he said. “It will help people travel through Allston or to Allston while the highway is at a reduced capacity during construction.”

“There’s huge potential here, and so West Station needs to serve that potential,” he added.

Pennucci wrote that MassDOT is considering the public’s concerns as the team moves forward with the project.

“MassDOT takes seriously all public comment on projects and is currently reviewing the comments received since the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) scoping document was filed,” Pennucci wrote.

Correction: February 21, 2020

A previous version of the caption above this article incorrectly identified Soldiers Field Road as the Massachusetts Pike.

—Staff writer Taylor C. Peterman can be reached at taylor.peterman@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @taylorcpeterman.

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