Massachusetts Turnpike - Boston Ramps Study
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is conducting the Massachusetts Turnpike - Boston Ramps Study. The Back Bay, Longwood Medical Area, Fenway, and Seaport District neighborhoods are important economic engines within the city of Boston. Growth in these neighborhoods added to the traffic generated by the existing educational, medical, and cultural institutions; the convention center; and area residents, could lead to overwhelming congestion on the city roadway system such as Massachusetts Avenue and Huntington Avenue, and area parkways such as Storrow Drive and Memorial Drive. The Massachusetts Turnpike travels through or very near these neighborhoods, but only provides limited access ramps in Back Bay (eastbound-off and westbound-on) and full access ramps in the Seaport District (all directions).
The purpose of the project is to conduct a study that will investigate the potential for new or revised access to/ from the regional express highway network using the Massachusetts Turnpike along the segment between Commonwealth Avenue in Allston and Interstate 93 in Chinatown. New connections to the Massachusetts Turnpike would also allow for potential new transit bus routes between these neighborhoods as well as better access to Logan Airport. A full range of ramp alternatives will be developed and analyzed as the study progresses. A recommended plan of future transportation improvements (short-term and long-term), based on the alternatives analysis, will be the end product of this project.
The study foundations (goals, objectives, evaluation criteria, and study area), existing conditions analysis, and alternative screening have all been completed. The study is evaluating eight potential build alternatives in addition to the no-build alternative. Four of the alternatives will involve construction of new ramps along the Turnpike in the Back Bay and four of the alternatives will involve reconfiguration of the Bowker Overpass through the Charlesgate. The eight alternatives are listed below.
- Back Bay Ramp Alternatives:
- Back Bay 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.
- Back Bay 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.
- Back Bay Alternative 3: Construction of a new I-90 westbound off-ramp to Brookline Avenue.
- Back Bay Alternative 4: Construction of a new I-90 eastbound on-ramp from the Bowker Overpass northbound.
- Bowker Overpass Alternatives:
Bowker Alternative 1: The Bowker Overpass is removed and all movements are accommodated on the Charlesgate Roadways
- Bowker Alternative 2: The Bowker Overpass is lowered to an at-grade roadway and the Charlesgate roadways are downgraded to provide only local access
- Bowker Alternative 3: The Bowker Overpass is removed and a new interchange is constructed connecting the Turnpike to Boylston Street with the local connection to Storrow Drive maintained at Charlesgate
- Bowker Alternative 4: The Bowker Overpass is removed and a new interchange is constructed connecting the Turnpike to Boylston Street, with the local connection to Storrow Drive provided by a new interchange with Massachusetts Avenue
MassDOT has engaged the services of the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) to complete the remaining study tasks. The additional analysis will include evaluating future conditions, developing more advanced conceptual-level designs, and the associated cost and timeline estimates for each alternative. Once this is complete each alternative will be evaluated using the criteria agreed to by the Study Advisory Group.
CTPS is currently using the Eastern Massachusetts Travel Demand Model to estimate the future roadway operations for the no build (all planned projects constructed) and build scenarios (all planned projects plus ramp alternatives).
Highway Division Bowker Overpass Repair Project
Separate from the Boston Ramps Study, the MassDOT Highway Division has determined that public safety requires immediate repairs of the Bowker Overpass. MassDOT is in the process of developing a project to repair the bridge by replacing the deck and retrofitting the pin and hanger assemblies. These repairs will address the near term safety issues on the Bowker Overpass viaduct.