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Judge temporarily blocks Middlesex Fells road project

Posted by Jarret Bencks  August 29, 2013 11:24 AM

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A road construction project in the Middlesex Fells Reservation has been temporarily halted by a judge as a lawsuit filed against the Department of Conservation and Recreation pends.

A Middlesex County Superior Court judge issued an injunction preventing the DCR from moving forward with a $2.5 million road reconstruction project on Woodland Road that would lead to a proposed housing and office development at the former Boston Regional Medical Center building in Stoneham.

Before the project resumes, a lawsuit brought against the DCR in 2009 by the Friends of Middlesex Fells Reservation and the City of Medford must be settled, according to an announcement from the Friends group.

The lawsuit seeks to require the DCR and developers Gutierrez Co. of Burlington and Simpson Housing of Boston to complete an environmental review of the planned development at the hospital site. It was initially dismissed in 2010, but sent back to superior court by the state's supreme court in 2011.

In a statement, Friends of the Fells president Mike Ryan said the injunction showed that the appeal of the previous ruling was considered to have merit.

This sends an important signal to the defendants about the strength of this appeal," he said.

The DCR was planning to open the project up for bid in September. A spokesman for the department declined to comment.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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