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Landscape Design

Examples of some of the different MassDOT projects designed both in-house and by our Consultants.

I. Lanesborough, Chesire, Adams-Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

This former rail corridor is an 11-mile trail that passes by ponds, a reservoir, over streams and through forests in the Hoosac River Valley. The word Ashuwillticook (ash-oo-will-ti-cook) is from the Native American name for the south branch of the Hoosac River and literally means at the in-between pleasant river, or in simply, the pleasant river in between the hills.

Image 1 - View of Cheshire Reservoir from trail
Image 2 - View along trail
Image 3 - New benches and composting toilets

Landscape Design: In-house
For more info: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/western/asrt.htm

II. Boston-Brighton Ave Reconstruction

This reconstruction project utilized raised planting beds to provide favorable conditions for the proposed trees and shrub in this mixed commercial and residential neighborhood. The median plantings replace an inactive trolley line. The raised planting beds had a number of advantages. There is a larger volume of soil for the plants to grow in. The raised beds reduce plant exposure to deicing salts and prevent damage from vehicles. Originally, custom granite was proposed, but was too expensive. Instead, standard granite curb was substituted as a cost effective alternative while providing the same function. A final benefit to the raised beds is to help direct pedestrians to the crosswalks, rather than cross mid-block between parked cars.

Image 1 - Raised median planting bed using standard granite curb.
Image 2 - Corridor view of median in the location of former trolley tracks.

Landscape Design: Pat Loheed and Associates

III. East Boston-Greenway

This abandoned rail corridor is the first part of a multi-segment linear park project that will link begin at the Boston waterfront and extend to Belle Island Marsh. This .5-mile section is made up of separate bicycle and pedestrian paths for different users, extensive landscaping, new benches, lighting and fencing. A donated caboose was restored and is located at the harbor end of the trail.

Image 1- Engraving of locomotive on granite bench along trail
Image 2- Pre-construction view of corridor
Image 3- Post-construction view of corridor
Image 4- Separate pedestrian and bicycle paths

Image 5- Entrance to Greenway at the Boston Harbor end.
Image 6- View along corridor
Image 7- Greenway Dedication Plaque

Landscape Design: Copley-Wolff Design Group
For more info: http://www.bostonnatural.org/east_boston.php

IV. Boston-Huntington Ave Reconstruction - 'Avenue of the Arts'

This project involved the reconstruction of a heavily trafficked corridor into a tree-lined boulevard. Academic and medical institutions, businesses, museums and residential buildings, line the corridor. The local trolley line occupies the median and the station stops were rebuilt to include new brick pavers, pedestrian shelters, tree plantings and lighting and improved handicap access.

Image 1 - New pedestrian shelters, plantings, benches and lighting
Image 2 - Museum of Fine Arts stop
Image 3 - Tree planting along trolley reservation and roadway

Landscape Design: Pressley and Associates

V. Greenfield-I-91 Slope Stabilization and Habitat Protection

A creative solution to stop and prevent serious slope erosion, while maintaining rare Wood Turtle habitat was developed with the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the Greenfield Conservation Commission and MassHighway. The traditional method of dumping riprap to prevent slope failure would cause a loss of habitat because the bare rock would deprive the Wood turtle of cover and food sources along that section of river. An innovative solution was developed to establish shrub growth while preventing future erosion along the bank. Three different species of dormant willow cuttings were placed in soil-filled, perforated cardboard tubes. The tubes protected the shrubs while the rock was placed around them. Seeded compost was backfilled on the rock to ensure perennial and grass growth throughout the area.

Image 1 - Pre-construction condition
Image 2 - Post-construction after 1 year
Image 3 - Detail of reconstruction method

Landscape Design: MassDOT Highway Division District 2 and Landscape Design

VI. Lexington-Marrett Road Reconstruction

This project was designed and constructed in cooperation with the National Park Service. The project encompasses the section of Route 2A from the Rt. 128 interchange to the Minuteman National Historical Park. The main goal was to improve the safety by building new signalized intersections while restoring continuity of a natural woodland appearance throughout the corridor. Features include stone-faced and steel-backed timber barriers establishing the entrance to Minuteman National Park. Special blasting and splitting of rock, as well as custom grading with embedded split boulders, create a naturally evolved look for the widened corridor. Temporary fencing, selective thinning and clearing, mechanically stabilized earth walls and field stone retaining walls were installed throughout the project preserve as much of the existing vegetation as possible. A wooden boardwalk path and railing provides pedestrian connection from the local school to the bus stop, and also allows a view into the wetland resource area and habitat. The grassed, fiber-reinforced shoulder minimizes the extent of pavement and reduces storm water runoff. Water collected from the roadway passes to the constructed wetland detention/sedimentation area for filtration. New tree and shrub plantings line the corridor to blend the constructed features with the existing woodland.

Image 1 - Steel-backed timber guardrail and wooden path
Image 2 - Wooden pedestrian path and railing
Image 3 - Entrance to Minuteman National Historical Park
Image 4 - View along new Sheraton driveway towards Rt. 2A intersection
Image 5 - View of new tree plantings and pedestrian path

VII. Marlboro-I-495 Interchange

This project was developed to reduce congestion on Route 20 and to provide another access point to a large existing corporate complex near I-495. An effort was made to minimize tree clearing. Protective fencing delineated boundaries for clearing trees. Mature stands of trees were preserved and the amount of restoration was significantly reduced. Aesthetic elements included relocated and rebuilt fieldstone walls, weathering steel bridge spans and aesthetic bridge pier design. Wattles and erosion control fabric was used for slope stabilization. Two smaller stone-filled gabion retaining walls were substituted for a single tall concrete retaining wall. The gabion walls look more like fieldstone walls that are common in the area.

Image 1 - Aerial view of Interchange
Image 2 - Aerial view of the project site
Image 3 - View of bridge span weaving through woodland
Image 4 - New planting at Crane Meadow Road intersection
Image 5 - Detail of bridge pier and span over I-495

Landscape Design: Vollmer Associates

VIII. Newton Corner-Intersection Improvements

This reconstruction project included landscaping of existing traffic islands. Plants were selected for lower growing characteristics and minimal maintenance. An interesting detail that evolved out of this project is the concrete edge surrounding the traffic islands. Although similar to a narrow sidewalk with a steep cross slope, it was introduced as a way of maintaining a neat edge where plants typically die back from exposure to road salt and debris. The steepened cross slope keeps the surface clean when it rains. The light color of the concrete also helps increase the visibility of the traffic islands to motorists.

Image 1 - Traffic island with flowering trees and evergreen shrubs
Image 2 - Traffic island with flowering trees and evergreen shrubs
Image 3 - Detail of traffic island concrete edging

Landscape Design: Louis Berger/CRJA/In-house

IX. Plymouth-Route 6A

This scenic road on Cape Cod required widening, sidewalks and other upgrades. Notable elements include extensive tree and shrub plantings, drifts of daffodils throughout the corridor, stone chip seal sidewalks and preservation of roadside features, such as existing stone walls and mature trees.

Image 1 - Existing stone wall and daffodil plantings
Image 2 - New tree, shrub and daffodil plantings among existing trees
Image 3 - View of Intersection plantings

Landscape Design: In-house

X. Worcester-Route 146 Grow and Install

A collaborative effort of a team of landscape architects, construction engineers and project managers enabled the implementation of an innovative series of contracts for extensive reforestation and reforestation of Route 146 in the Historic Blackstone River corridor. The Grow/Install project consists of a series of contracts for growing, inspecting and installing approximately 15,000 trees, 65,000 shrubs and over 50,000 vines and perennials along 4.5 miles of the Route 146/Massachuesetts Turnpike Interchange Project. This project will improve access to Worcester and to the Blackstone Valley region and will restore former industrial land and reconnect public land along the Blackstone River. The purpose of Grow/Install is to better control the quality, quantity and adaptability of different plant species that may be difficult to find from conventional sources in the quantities and species specified.

Image 1 - Route 122A - Bridge and bike path

Image 2 - Kane B plantings being installed
Image 3 - Kane B plantings
Image 4 - Grow and Install plants at the nursery
Image 5 - Kane B median planting

Image 6 - Kane B plantings
Image 7 - Kane B- Bridge and bike path
Image 8 - Upper J interchange

Landscape Design: CRJA/In-house

XI. 3D Modeling and Visual Simulation
Fitchburg-Fifth Street Replacement Bridge

Image 1 - Original Fifth Street Bridge
Image 2 - Proposed Replacement Bridge
Image 3 - Constructed Bridge

Marthas Vineyard - Oak Bluffs Temporary Bridge

Image 1 - Cove view of existing bridge
Image 2 - Cove view of temporary bridge
Image 3 - Roadway view of temporary bridge

Quincy - Weymouth Fore River Bridge Replacement Type Study

Image 1 - View of Existing bridge (now removed)
Image 2 - View of Fixed Span option
Image 3 - View of Tunnel option
Image 4 - View of Vertical Lift option

Boston - Sprague Street Bridge Reconstruction

Image 1 - View of existing bridge
Image 2 - View of proposed bridge

XII. Uxbridge-Almshouse Burial Ground

The Uxbridge Almshouse Burying Ground was constructed by MassHighway to relocate the remains of 31 individuals laid to rest in the mid-19th century and displaced by highway construction in 1985.

The original burial site consisted of a group of unmarked stones embedded in the forest floor, and was discovered by engineers surveying the new alignment of Route 146. The stones were all that remained of the unmarked and forgotten burying ground of the Uxbridge almshouse and Poor Farm, operated by the town of Uxbridge between 1831 and 1872. The grave site lay directly in the path of the new roadway, requiring relocation of the remains. The new cemetery design was guided by FHWA mitigation requirements and by the town Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, and the Almshouse Burying Ground Committee. The resulting concept, developed by the Landscape Design Section, was a forested enclosure, drawing its spirit and detail from New England cemeteries of the mid-19th century.

The relocated cemetery was dedicated on October 28, 1995 and is cared for the by residents of Uxbridge.

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