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Allston I-90 Interchange Improvement Project

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Allston I-90 Interchange

About the Project

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is undertaking the Allston I-90 Interchange Improvement Project to replace the 1965 highway superstructure. The existing Allston viaduct is nearing the end of its useful lifespan and must be replaced to avoid becoming structurally deficient and impacting the efficient operation of the Massachusetts Turnpike. At the same time, the Commonwealth’s decision to go to all electric tolling (AET) means that the Allston toll plaza is no longer needed nor is the highway geometry which supports it. These two conditions create a unique opportunity to increase the livability and accessibility of Allston by shifting the existing Cambridge Street ramps and creating a new street network in its place. Once completed, the Allston I-90 Interchange Improvement Project will:

  • Increase safety and accessibility for all modes.
  • Improve bicycle and pedestrian connections along Cambridge Street.
  • Incorporate all electronic tolling.
  • Eliminate the Beacon Park Yard loading area, while maintaining the viability of commuter rail operations through this corridor.
  • Shift the curvature of the highway to closely follow the general direction of the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The southern limit of the project includes the CSX Beacon Park Rail Yard, just north of the Boston University Athletic Center. The northern limit of the work is in the vicinity of the I-90 Allston interchange ramps. Rehabilitation of the various Allston interchange on and off ramps will be included in this project.

Map of project area as described above.

MassDOT understands that the changes to the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Allston interchange ramps will have significant impacts to the abutting community. As the project gets underway, these broader study area limits will be defined through both the technical expertise of the MassDOT project team and commentary received from the community at public information meetings.

Meetings/Project Schedule

The initial public information meeting was held on Thursday, April 10th at the Jackson Mann Community Center in Allston. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the project to Allston, Brighton and other surrounding communities. The meeting also provided residents and other stakeholders within the project area with an opportunity to meet and ask questions of MassDOT’s design team for the project. Comments from the community are solicited, appreciated, and will be considered to the fullest extent possible. 

The meeting on April 10 was only the first of many opportunities the community will have to provide comments about this project. Additional public information meetings will held over the course of the concept development phase. To ensure that you learn about each one of them in advance, please sign up for email updates.

  • Concept Development (Spring-Summer 2014)
  • Task Force Group (Spring-Fall 2014)
  • Environmental Filing (MEPA/NEPA) (Fall 2014 - Spring 2016)
  • Preliminary Design (Summer 2015 – Summer 2016)
  • Design-Build Procurement (Fall 2016 – Spring 2017)
  • Construction (2017-2020)

Background

The elevated viaduct carries the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) through the Allston/Brighton area with Cambridge Street and Soldiers Field Road to the north and Brighton Avenue to the south. This section of the Massachusetts Turnpike has an Average Daily Traffic volume of approximate 144,000 vehicles per day. The viaduct is the primary East-West route between Western Massachusetts, Worcester and Boston, and experiences extensive vacation traffic during the weekends in the summer and winter. Average daily traffic volumes for the Massachusetts Turn pike west of the Allston Interchange are 142,000 and east of the Allston interchange are 147,000. Average daily traffic volumes for Cambridge Street are 38,000, Soldiers Field Road are 66,000 and the Allston Interchange Ramps are 66,000.

The I-90 Allston viaduct is nearing the end of its useful lifespan and must be replaced to prevent the bridge from becoming structurally deficient. The replacement of the bridge provides an opportunity to reconfigure the Allston Interchange which dates to the 1965 extension of the Massachusetts Turnpike to downtown Boston. This project is in alignment with MassDOT's plan to convert the Massachusetts Turnpike to all electronic tolling which will operate at highway speeds.

Construction and Traffic Management

The current phase addresses development of a concept for how to restructure the Allston Interchange. A conceptual design must be developed in order to determine how to best replace the viaduct/interchange in a way which maintains and improves connections on the Turnpike while improving safety and accessibility for all modes. In the later stages of fully developing the concept into a buildable design, a traffic management plan will be developed organizing the construction phase into separate stages in order to mitigate against traffic impacts as much as possible.

Project Status

April 2014: MassDOT holds first public information meeting at the Jackson Mann Community Center in Allston. A concept design phase is anticipated to run through mid-fall 2014.

Getting Involved

If you have any questions, need further information, or want to be added to future informational mailing lists, please contact:

Nathaniel Curtis, Howard/Stein-Hudson, Public Involvement Specialist
Tel: (617)482-7080 x236
Email: ncabral-curtis@hshassoc.com

Patricia Leavenworth, PE, MassDOT, Chief Engineer
10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA, 02116
Attn: Bridge Project Management – Project File No. 606475

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