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BOSTON – Massachusetts Transportation officials unveiled a new design for a massive project to redesign the Mass Pike in Allston yesterday, June 22.

The Mass Pike Allston project began in 2014, and the state’s transportation secretary said that a final option will be decided upon later this year.

In November of 2017, MassDOT submitted a preferred concept for the new Allston interchange design. In January 2019, the Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation selected the Preferred Alternative for the replacement of the Allston Viaduct.

That concept to elevate Soldiers Field Road and bring the Massachusetts Turnpike slightly below grade drew criticism from MetroWest leaders.

Yesterday, MassDOT officials unveiled its latest option for the project which is to have the Mass Pike elevated and to ground Soldiers Field Road along the Charles River.

Construction on the massive transportation project is scheduled to begin in 2022 and to be completed by 2032.

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The 8-10 year construction project would also create a new stop on the
Worcester/Framingham Commuter Line called West Station. But in doing so, that one could have just a single track for 4-5 years of the project.

The estimated $1 billion project will have a major impact on MetroWest commuters, both car and train.

“I have long believed the Allston Multimodal Project should be viewed through a regional lens because its impacts will ripple throughout the Commonwealth. More specifically, I remain concerned about its effects on MetroWest residents. This morning, I reiterated those concerns to the Administration ahead of today’s presentation. I emphasized that any plan must be viewed as an opportunity to include increased reliability, frequency, and affordably on the commuter rail during the construction and after; take into account the unfair financial burden already placed on MetroWest commuters by the turnpike tolls; and actively provide increased short-term commuting options and improve the long-term experience for both drivers and users of public transportation,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka in a statement on Monday.

Massachusetts Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary Stephanie Pollack announced yesterday, the new option will be studied along with the other previously announced options, with a final decision announced this fall.

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Framingham State Representative Maria Robinson attended a briefing on the new option Monday night.

“As MassDOT puts once-shelved options back on the table in response to significant public comments and concerns about construction in the Charles River, MetroWest needs to maintain a strong voice in this process,” said Rep. Robinson.

“MassDOT has clearly been listening to our concerns about minimizing impact on commuters, ensuring in all three options lane reductions are minimized during the construction phase,” said Rep. Robinson.

“MetroWest is an economic engine of the Commonwealth, and any plan that adversely impacts our region will have a negative effect on the economic vitality of our entire state. As this project moves forward, I will remain engaged with appropriate stakeholders to see that these areas of concern are addressed appropriately,” said Senator Spilka, who represents Framingham, Natick, & Ashland in MetroWest.

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“Disruption is far too weak a word for what is coming to Metro-West commuters once the I-90 Allston multi-modal project gets underway in 2022. Long-term lane reductions along the turnpike stretching between Boston University and the Charles River will upend automobile travel to and from Boston,” wrote Pioneer Institute’s Director of Government Transparency Mary Z. Connaughton, to MassDOT yesterday, June 22.

“Commuters, whose lives are going to be uprooted for at least a decade, should get the benefit of seeing cost differentials for both construction and long-term maintenance as well as project durations for alternative infrastructure design options. Therefore, it is in the public’s best interest to consider all at-grade option for the throat area of the I-90 Multimodal Project,” wrote Connaughton, a Framingham resident.

“With Covid-19, we have been given the opportunity to think more creatively about modern commuting requirements, but we in Framingham still can’t face 10 years of constant obstruction on the MassPike, especially with no firm guarantee of two-track commuter rail service under all three plans throughout the entire construction timeframe,” said Rep. Robinson.

“I also have serious concerns about the swiftness of looking at new options under such a truncated project approval timeline, and I strongly urge MassDOT to engage communities inside and outside of Boston more directly in this process,” said Rep. Robinson.

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The Pioneer Institute is recommending MassDOT “maintain two-track Worcester Line service throughout the construction period” and begins a ” pilot project to electrify key areas of the Worcester Line to improve commutes and increase ridership,” wrote Connaughton

““Framingham and the larger MetroWest community are fortunate to have Rep. Maria Robinson advocating for us on the Allston Multimodal Project Task Force. Our MetroWest Legislative Delegation has been speaking with one voice on the need for minimizing the impact of this project on our region’s commuters and incorporating mitigation plans throughout every step of this process,” said Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis, who represents Framingham and Ashland.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.