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State to unveil latest design of $53m plan to replace Casey Overpass

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  July 3, 2013 02:37 PM

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State officials next week will unveil the latest design of a $53 million plan to build a network of surface roads to replace the deteriorating Casey Overpass, which carries Route 203 over the Forest Hills MBTA station.

An update on the status of the “Casey Arborway” project, which is at the 75 percent design stage, will be presented by officials from the state Department of Transportation at a meeting scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, in the auditorium of English High School in Jamaica Plain.

The presentation will focus on elements of the project that have changed or progressed significantly since the 25 percent design stage, which was presented at the beginning of this year, officials said.

Last March, after a lengthy, contentious public process, the state transportation department chose to replace the deteriorating structure with a network of at-grade, or surface-level, roads, forgoing a more costly option to replace it with another overpass.

The planned new boulevard has been named the Casey Arborway.

Officials said the project also calls for:

-- Geometric and signal improvements at a number of “substandard” intersections, including at South Street and Arborway, Washington Street and Hyde Park Avenue and Shea Circle.

-- Modifications to the upper busway and various operations and infrastructure upgrades related to transit at the Forest Hills T Station

-- Improved bicycle and pedestrian access.

-- The creation of more open space.

The state hopes to start construction in spring 2014 and to complete the work by fall of 2016.

The project must be completed before the project’s funding mechanism, the state’s Accelerated Bridge Program, expires in 2016. The program was created in 2008 to work toward repairing or replacing 543 structurally-deficient bridges in Massachusetts, or 11 percent of the total number of bridges statewide.

When it was built nearly six decades ago, the 1,650-foot-long, 80-foot-wide bridge was designed to carry four lanes of traffic. Aged beyond repair, the overpass now has sidewalks along either edge and since fall 2010 has been reduced to two lanes, one in either direction, out of safety concerns.

Officials have had to make some emergency repairs to the overpass, including last summer. About 24,000 vehicles drive on the overpass each day.

For more information about the replacement project's public process, click here.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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