Accelerated Bridge Program Massachusetts Department of transporation
Casey Overpass Project Casey Overpass Project Casey Overpass Project

About This Project

The Monsignor William J. Casey Overpass is the elevated section of Route 203 which carries the Arborway over Washington and South Street in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of the City of Boston.  The Overpass is located directly north of the Forest Hills Station.  (See locus map).  The area around the overpass serves many neighborhoods and traveling consistencies including pedestrians, cyclists, MBTA riders and motorists.  The area also acts as an important gateway to such Boston institutions as Franklin Park, Forest Hills Cemetery, Shattuck Hospital and the Arnold Arboretum. In 2010, the overpass was determined to be structurally deficient, suffering from numerous superstructure and substructure problems due to a combination of deterioration and original design flaws and beyond the point of effective repair. 

This project consists of removing the existing structurally deficient 1,650’ Casey Overpass and replacing it with a simplified at-grade reconstructed roadway network. A new fully accessible Orange Line access/egress headhouse will replace the existing substandard exit only headhouse. Bicycle and pedestrian accommodations will be enhanced throughout the project limits. The Route 39 bus will be relocated to the reconstructed upper busway at Forest Hills Station. The project will result in the reconnection of the Arborway and Emerald Necklace Park from the Arnold Arboretum to Franklin Park.

The streetscape has been designed with permeable pavers along sidewalks and bike paths. The runoff of water into these pavers will help to water the trees planted within the permeable paver areas. Existing granite block and cobblestone are being reclaimed from the project area for use in the proposed medians and short retaining walls. There is a net increase of approximately 400 trees. These proposed trees will contribute to the reconnected Emerald Necklace Park and Arborway. The project area contains four larger plaza areas: Toole Square, Southwest Corridor Park Plaza, MBTA North Plaza, and Shea Square Plaza. Each of these areas has unique aspects.

  • Toole square has been redesigned as a passive park, with winding paths.
  • Southwest Corridor Park Plaza creates a grander entrance to Southwest Corridor Park, with an innovative bicycle roundabout to direct bicycles and pedestrians through the entrance and an “urban park” of trees.
  • The MBTA Forest Hills Station North Plaza has been designed to provide clear paths for MBTA patrons while opening the plaza to possible other uses, such as farmers’ markets.
  • Shea Square replaces the existing Shea Circle, providing historical information about the old circle, Franklin Park and Morton Street, while creating a small resting area and park where the travel lanes of the rotary currently are.

The Upper Busway of the Forest Hills MBTA Station is designed to minimize light pollution to neighboring communities, with short walls placed to block headlights from hitting the houses without impeding views, and a landscaped buffer area along the Busway to provide separation.

Project Overview


On March 8, 2012 following substantial discussion and input from both the community and Working Advisory Group, MassDOT announced its decision to replace the existing Casey Overpass with a new, multimodal at-grade roadway.  As of the early spring of 2014, the project has passed all of its significant design milestones, including receipt of a MEPA certificate, 25% design public hearing, and review by the Massachusetts Historic Commission.  On April 12, 2014, the project was advertised for construction and it is currently anticipated that a contractor will be selected to build the job by June of this year.  MassDOT is still in the process of finalizing the MHC mitigation package for the rebuilding of Shea Circle as Shea Square, a new four-way, signalized intersection with enhanced bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, new green space, and a neighborhood park for residents of the area  south of the Arborway including Franklin Park Villa, Arborway Gardens, Orchard Hill, and Yale Terrace.  Anyone interested in the mitigation package should contact the MHC directly.

At this time, the design for the project is complete.  A general plan of the corridor as the new Casey Arborway can be seen here. MassDOT and its design team have also concluded their work with the Design Advisory Group (DAG).  A closing meeting was held on November 19, 2013 to provide this group with a final overview of the 100% design.  Many members of the DAG also continued to provide input on the project over the winter of 2013 and into the early spring of 2014 as consulting parties to the MHC process.  Both DOT and its design team want to express their thanks to the membership of the DAG for their hard work over the course of the design phase.  Members of the DAG who began with the Working Advisory Group (WAG) in 2011 are especially thanked for their long commitment to the project.  

The project is now transitioning towards construction.  Community members who would like to join the stakeholder database to receive updates during the construction phase are encouraged to contact Michael Trepanier.  Once a contractor has been awarded the project, a MassDOT municipal liaison and public involvement member of the new project team will take over outreach for the construction phase.


In March 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) initiated a study of alternatives to replace the existing Casey Overpass. The study worked to identify safe, accessible, multi-modal landscape, streetscape, and transportation options to accommodate all modes of transportation. The planning study considered alternatives that would replace the existing Casey Overpass with a new bridge or overhead structure, as well as alternatives that would eliminate the bridge and instead build a new at-grade roadway to accommodate the traffic currently carried by the Overpass.

As part of this process, MassDOT formed a Working Advisory Group, made of representatives of local neighborhoods and organizations that will be effected by the outcome of the Casey process. This group met regularly from March 2011 through November 2011. To review the materials developed by and for the Working Advisory Group members, please visit the project meetings page.

what's new

On October 21, 2014 MassDOT opened construction bids for the project. Barletta Heavy Division was the lowest bidder. On October 22, 2014, the MassDOT Board of Directors gave MassDOT the approval to award the project’s construction contract. The contract was awarded on November 19, 2014. A Notice to Proceed (NTP) has not yet been issued to the contractor. That is anticipated to happen in December of 2014.

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John Romano
Jim Kersten


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