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Ethanol Safety Study
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Welcome to Study of the Safety Impacts of Ethanol Transportation by Rail through Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Somerville, and Revere website. This page is the central location for all information on the study, including all information about upcoming and past meetings.

What's New

The Final Report is now available below.

OVERVIEW

The MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning is undertaking this safety study in response to Section 24 of Chapter 242 of the Acts of 2012, passed by the State Legislature which charges MassDOT with executing a study on the public safety issues associated with ethanol transport by rail.

At the encouragement of the technical advisory group and due to its proximity to the potential ethanol rail routes that pass through the other cities listed in the legislation and its similar population density and development patterns, the study area has been expanded to include the city of Somerville. Additionally the deadline for the final report has been extended beyond the original due date and is now due to the Legislature on March 23, 2013.

OVERVIEW DOCUMENT

MassDOT has created the following five maps of the study area depicting the possible routes that ethanol trains might take to carry ethanol into the Global facility in Revere.

  • Map of Study Area and Possible Routes

    This map depicts the urban area surrounding Boston. The five communities listed in the legislation and the City of Somerville are highlighted here. Additionally the four possible routes the ethanol trains might take to get to Global are highlighted in red. These routes would run along the MBTA commuter rail system, potentially utilizing the Worcester, Fitchburg, Lowell, or Haverhill commuter rail lines within the study area. All the possible routes start west or north, respectively, and terminate at the Boston Engine Terminal (BET). The shared corridor then starts here then utilizes the Haverhill Commuter Rail Line heading north. At Assembly Square in Somerville, the route then switches to the Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail line, crossing the Mystic River and passing through Everett and Chelsea to enter Revere. Once in Revere, the train requires a reverse move to enter the spur that leads to the Global facility. To do this the train would travel along the Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail line as far north as Revere Street, and then run in reverse onto the East Boston spur to deliver the ethanol.

  • Maps of Potentially Exposed Populations:

    In addition to the alignment of the corridors, these maps depict the Environmental Justice areas in the study area (shown in yellow). Each map includes a half-mile buffer (in teal) around the corridor to reflect the potential evacuation radius during any ethanol-related crash. The Environmental Justice areas within the buffer are shown in green. As required by the legislation these maps identify all elderly housing complexes, schools, hospitals, and health care facilities.

    • Map of Corridor 1: Potentially Exposed Populations

      Corridor 1 starts at the Belmont/Cambridge line, heading east through Cambridge along the Fitchburg commuter rail line passing under the Alewife Brook Parkway and through Porter Square. At Porter Square, the route passes into Somerville roughly paralleling Somerville Avenue into Union Square where it then passes under the McGrath Highway, in the vicinity of the Twin City Plaza, to access the Boston Engine Terminal (BET) where it then joins the Shared Corridor described below.

    • Map of Corridor 2: Potentially Exposed Populations

      Corridor 2 starts at the Newton/Boston line, heading east along the Worcester/Framingham commuter rail line which parallels the Massachusetts Turnpike through Allston and Brighton. The route would then pass through the Beacon Park Yards in Allston with trains then switching onto the Grand Junction route that crosses the Charles River and passes into Cambridge. In Cambridge the Grand Junction route parallels Vassar Street until it turns north crossing Broadway and Cambridge Street before it enters Somerville, crossing under the McGrath Highway, in the vicinity of the Twin City Plaza, to connect to the BET where it then joins the Shared Corridor described below.

    • Map of Corridor 3: Potentially Exposed Populations

      Corridor 3 starts at the Medford/Somerville line, heading southeast along the Lowell commuter rail line through a portion of Somerville and then enters Medford, leaving the study area. The route then re-enters Somerville and the study area, crossing under Broadway near Ball Square and following the Lowell commuter rail line between Medford Street and Highland Avenue. The route then crosses under the McGrath Highway just north of the intersection with Highland Avenue and passes through the Inner Belt neighborhood to connect to the BET where it joins the Shared Corridor described below.

    • Map of Shared Corridor: Potentially Exposed Populations

      The Shared Corridor starts at the BET then utilizes the Haverhill Commuter Rail Line heading north. At Assembly Square in Somerville, the route then switches to the Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail line, crossing the Mystic River and passing through Everett and Chelsea to enter Revere. Once in Revere, the train requires a reverse move to enter the spur that leads to the Global facility. To do this the train would travel along the Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail line as far north as Revere Street, and then run in reverse onto the East Boston spur to deliver the ethanol.

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A review of train incidents was done both in Massachusetts and nationally. The links below are to a summary and log of the incidents in Massachusetts from 2006-2012, as well as a summary and log of all the ethanol and unknown hazardous material related incidents in the United States from 2008 to 2012, respectively.lar

PUBLIC MEETINGS

All available information from each of the public meetings will be posted here the website.

CONTACT US

If you have comments or questions related to the Ethanol Safety Study, please contact:

Ammie Rogers, Project Manager
(857) 368-9800
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