Should This Mass Pike Viaduct Come Down?

Public opinion favors an at-grade highway, but the state is still considering retaining the elevated section in Allston.
October 5, 2018, 12pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Massachusetts is already set to spend $1 billion to straighten the Massachusetts Turnpike where it curves around former train yards in Allston. The question now is whether an adjacent viaduct should be replaced with an at-grade road. Adam Vaccaro writes, "The decision this time will shape the western gateway to Boston for generations and may result in more public access to a desolate stretch of the Charles long hidden behind Boston University by the highway viaduct."

State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack will make the final call, and MassDOT is currently consulting experts on a deep analysis of the options. Meanwhile, public opinion in the area firmly backs the ground-level plan, which would "[squeeze] the eight-lane highway into a tight section between the rail tracks and Soldiers Field Road and [an] adjacent recreational path known as 'the throat.'"

That option is less expensive, and would more easily accommodate pedestrian infrastructure letting residents access the Charles riverfront. At the same time, Pollack's team is concerned about spatial constraints and the potential that an at-grade highway would be susceptible to future floods. A decision is expected by year's end.

See also: $1 Billion Mass Pike Redesign Offers a Second Chance for Urban Design

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Published on Monday, September 24, 2018 in The Boston Globe
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