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McGrath Boulevard Project

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McCarthy/McGrath Highway

McGrath Boulevard Project Development

explained in text

The McGrath Highway (Route 28) runs between Mystic Avenue/I-93 to the north and the Monsignor O'Brien Highway at the Cambridge line to the south. The McCarthy Overpass is the elevated section, or “viaduct” which provides a significant link in the McGrath Highway between the Squires Bridge at Medford Street and the bridge over the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line. The primary purpose of this structure is to allow north/south traffic to bypass east/west traffic on Washington Street. Addressing an expanded corridor which runs from Broadway in Somerville to Third Street in Cambridge, MassDOT, its Working Group, and consultant team have collaborated in achieving a preliminary design concept to transform McGrath Highway into a multimodal corridor known as McGrath Boulevard.

This preliminary design concept responds to the public's desire to increase connectivity by facilitating safe and comfortable access for everyone, particularly the “interested but concerned” majority of cyclists. The concept proposes a seamless network of low traffic stress routes running from Broadway (north) to East Cambridge (south) adjacent to motor vehicle traffic, but generally physically separated from it by vertical elements such as raised curbs, trees, shrubs, grass, or open space. MassDOT is also sensitive to the idea that vehicles still need to move on McGrath Boulevard, particularly the workhorses of the MBTA system: buses. The concept also provides for calm, predictable traffic operations which prevent damaging congestion from exiting the corridor and taking over residential streets. This concept reknits the neighborhoods currently bisected by the McCarthy Overpass and its ramps while implementing a transportation facility that increases the social wellbeing and place-making opportunities in East Somerville.

See the Project Details/Background page linked at left for more information.

What's New

The environmental permitting and preliminary design phase associated with the McGrath Boulevard Project has reached a preferred alternative which will be filed in an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) associated with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). Through the process of the Working Group and public information meetings, the Project Team has been able to deliver an alternative that provides primarily a four-lane cross section with six-lanes at key intersections with high turning volumes. While the preliminary design has been referred to as an approximate 5-10% design, this concept will provide the foundation for the corridor plan leading into the formal design phase subsequent to the conclusion of the environmental permitting process.

Please sign up for email updates to keep up with the project during the current phase, to ensure that you learn about each phase as we advance, and to be advised of the scheduling of public information meetings. (Link to project's GovDelivery portal).

Ongoing Public Involvement

The initial public information meeting for the McGrath Boulevard Project development phase was held on Wednesday, July 17, 2014 at the The Argenziano School Cafetorium in Somerville. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the project to Somerville and the surrounding communities. The second public information meeting was held on May 28, 2015 at the East Somerville Community School Auditorium. This meeting provided the community with an opportunity to comment on the efforts of the Project Team and Working Group to date as well as offer guidance to the ongoing project development. Both meetings gave residents and key stakeholders an opportunity to meet and ask questions of MassDOT's design team for the project. Comments from the community are solicited, appreciated, have been and will continue to be considered to the fullest extent possible. To learn more about these meeting, please see the project documents page (link to documents page) for copies of the presentations given and detailed minutes.

Working Group

As part of their commitment to facilitate a thorough, inclusive public involvement process for this project, MassDOT has established a Working Group to inform and advise the agency on important community and stakeholder issues affecting the development of an implementable design for the McGrath Boulevard Project by incorporating members' local knowledge and expertise. The Working Group is made up by local residents, business owners, transportation and green space advocates, as well as representatives from local, state, and Federal governments. In order to establish an appropriate and well balanced Working Group, MassDOT worked with the City of Somerville and local Elected Officials to add new members. Working group members are responsible for representing their specific neighborhoods, groups, or organizations concerns in addition to informing community members of upcoming project announcements.

Over the course of 15 months, the Working Group met seven times and provided significant guidance in advancing the preliminary concept to a point of reasonable consensus. Local insight and advisory input for a future McGrath Boulevard vision was provided through verbal and written comments as well as two work shop style sessions which focused in developing a conceptual cross section for the corridor at key locations.

Project Team


  • Michael Trepanier - Project Manager
  • Dan Fielding - Legislative Liaison

Consultant Team

  • McMahon Associates - Project Lead, Traffic Analysis
  • Howard/Stein-Hudson - Public Outreach and Active Transportation
  • Kleinfelder - Urban & Landscape Design

MassDOT Partners

  • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
  • City of Somerville
  • City of Boston
  • City of Cambridge
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