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BOSTON (Friday, September 14, 2012) — Today, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, state and local officials joined the family of the late Stephen T. O’Donnell to dedicate a stretch of Route 53 in Weymouth, the Stephen T. O’Donnell Memorial Highway.
O’Donnell, a long time MassDOT employee, passed away two years ago today, (September 14, 2010) after a battle with cancer. O’Donnell’s career included years at the head of Highway District 4, head of the statewide maintenance program and as a key contributor to the creation of the historic Patrick-Murray Administration’s Accelerated Bridge Program. O’Donnell also spent four years as Commissioner of Public Works in the City of Quincy.
“Steve’s memory lives on in the Highway Division as an exemplary engineer and public servant,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola.
“Stephen O’Donnell was a go to guy that would always get the job done for you. His contributions to the agency will be remembered for years to come, and his positive attitude will remain an inspiration to all that knew him. It is only fitting that having this section of roadway named in honor will ensure that his memory and accomplishments will last for years to come,” said MassDOT Chief Engineer Thomas F. Broderick.
The Memorial Highway runs along Washington Street in Weymouth (Route 53) from the Hingham town line to Broad Street, a length of approximately three miles.
“I am honored to have worked with Stephen during his many years at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. He was a great reformer who understood the need to modernize and streamline MassDOT to better serve the constituents of the Commonwealth, and he leaves the sort of legacy any public servant would be proud of. This is a fitting tribute to his memory,” said Senator Bob Hedlund.
“Steve was an exceptional guy both on a personal and a professional level. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him and we as a commonwealth benefited greatly from his efforts working on our behalf," said Representative James M. Murphy.
O’Donnell was also instrumental in Transportation Reform of 2009, breaking down barriers and integrating the old stand alone agencies to form the current MassDOT Highway Division.
“Steve was passionate about his work and passionate about his community. There are few road and bridge projects across the Commonwealth that do not bear his imprint, and was a greatly respected Commissioner of Public Works for his hometown of Quincy. He is still deeply missed by those who knew him, and this dedication is a fitting tribute to a friend who left us far too early,” said Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch.
O’Donnell was a graduate of Wentworth Institute of Technology and a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
“Our family is truly and honored with this dedication to Stephen. This road naming will forever keep him in the minds of his many friends and co-workers that will reflect on his accomplishments as they travel this roadway for years to come,” said Pamala O’Donnell.