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City awarded $40m for repair of roads from stimulus funds

By Eric Moskowitz
Globe Staff / February 28, 2009
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As aspects of the $787 billion federal stimulus package come into focus, Boston this week was awarded nearly $40 million of the roughly $400 million newly available for bridge and highway projects in Massachusetts.

The money in Boston will be used, starting this summer, on "shovel ready" projects along Dorchester Avenue and on major roads that feed highways, as well as to bolster a regional traffic-monitoring system. It was part of $129.9 million in stimulus funds awarded Thursday across the Boston area by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, one of the 13 MPOs in Massachusetts.

The organizations - comprising state, local, and regional officials - distribute federal transportation funding in Massachusetts. The stimulus dollars will accelerate some scheduled projects and enable new ones to be added, officials said.

In Boston, $12.9 million will be used to reconfigure four major Dorchester Avenue intersections to realign streets, improve traffic flow, and make sidewalk and aesthetic improvements. The work will occur at Peabody Square, Fields Corner, Glover's Corner, and Andrew Square.

It will also improve signals and pedestrian ramps at 11 other intersections along the route, said Jim Gillooly, Boston's deputy transportation commissioner and the mayor's representative to the regional MPO.

The city will get $21 million to resurface significant stretches of at least a half-dozen deteriorating roads that serve the highway network. The work will include Blue Hill Avenue, Columbia Road, and Allston-Brighton's Cambridge Street, Gillooly said. The resurfacing work will be paired with improvements to make pedestrian ways accessible to people with disabilities, he said.

Boston will also benefit from $5 million awarded regionally to link traffic lights, traffic cameras, and other technology that serves the city, as well as intersections operated by Boston, the Massachusetts Port Authority, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, and others.

That money will help officials unify the traffic-monitoring system to better respond to emergencies.

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