Public Hearing for I95/I90 Bridge “Bundle” – Thursday August 18
To end your summer with a precipitous drop into real life, the Owl recommends attending Thursday night’s MassDOT rave, subtitled “A Live Virtual Design Public Hearing to discuss design for the proposed Newton-Weston Bridge Bundle, Replacement and Rehabilitation at I-90/I-95 Including Ramp G project in Newton and Weston, MA.” The actual subtitle is “your commute is f’ed for the forseeable future–let’s go to Worcester instead.” As an aside, it boggles my mind why anyone would hire anyone but the Owl for their public relations needs.
While the Owl cannot resist making fun here, do not be fooled by the seemingly innocuous nature of this beast. NINE bridges to be replaced or repaired (by the way, as anyone who has traveled this pretzel knows, these bridges need some loving care–I say a brief hail Mary every time I head down the northbound onramp to 95 from 90 and I’m not even Catholic). I do question what is this “Ramp G” which they mention multiple times but which one is it? Ramp Goodbye, you’re in the river? Ramp Gone? Suspecty.
Also in the “suspecty” column is that when the Owl last mentioned a public hearing on this project in March, there were EIGHT bridges involved. Now there are nine. What is happening here? Which one got added? The one the truck fell off of earlier this year? Honestly, it may be best that we just cut our ties with Boston altogether, this looks complicated. Worcester seems nice.
Here’s the officialese from our town website:
The proposed project consists of replacing and rehabilitating a series of nine bridges at the Interstate 90/Interstate 95 interchange (I-90/I-95). The bridges include I-90’s crossing of I-95 and the Charles River, I-90 Over the Worcester Mainline commuter rail tracks just east of the Charles River, as well as ramp bridges within the I-90/I-95 interchange itself. Of the nine bridges, five will be replaced, two will be rehabilitated, and two will have their superstructure replaced. The proposed project will provide bridge and roadway safety improvements, increase vertical clearance for freight movements, improve seismic resiliency and reduce noise impacts through the installation of noise walls along I-90 in Auburndale to the project’s eastern limit of work. MassDOT will use staged construction to maintain existing three lanes of I-90 during construction. The project will also use accelerated bridge replacement and offline construction.
A secure right-of-way is necessary for this project. Acquisitions in fee and permanent or temporary easements may be required. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is responsible for acquiring all needed rights in private or public lands. MassDOT’s policy concerning land acquisitions will be presented in the hearing.
Now, may I just add the following editorial comment? YIKES. In addition to the bridge replacement/repair “bundle”(and the use of the word “bundle” just amuses me…why not a “herd” or a “gaggle” of bridges?), Massachusetts is looking at a land grab. Do not be fooled, Weston, they have been looking at the Viking outpost at Norumbega Tower for quite some time–it shall be the latest rest stop. Oh wait, that’s not Weston’s anyway–that is DCR’s, I think.
Anyway, the Commonwealth purports to care about the views and opinions of attendees which is stated as such: “All views and comments submitted in response to the hearing will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible.” The Owlets translated this to me as “no one cares, mom.” Who brought up these jaded folks? Fine, MassDOT cares and includes all kinds of information on how to send in your comments/views/questions here:
Project inquiries, written statements and other exhibits regarding the proposed undertaking may be submitted to Carrie E. Lavallee, P.E., Chief Engineer, via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via US Mail to Suite 6340, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, Attention: Major Projects, Project File No. 606783. Statements and exhibits intended for inclusion in the public hearing transcript must be emailed or postmarked no later than ten (10) business days after the meeting is posted to the MassDOT website.
In any case, make sure to read all the Hearing documents on the website, including this handout (do they call them handouts still when they are only online? Hmmm). If you read down to all the FAQs, you will see that pollinators shall even get their day in court (or their landscaping, you choose). Fascinating stuff. Glad I work remote but I shall miss you Boston because clearly, I will never get there again (ah, and good luck to all you Wellesley line commuter train folks!–welcome to the Fitchburg line!)
Thursday, August 18, 6 pm-8 pm. Please register for the call here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vItSF-KeToODkiJy8ED5hQ
YIKES is right!! Thanks for the owlie heads-up towards that complicated and wicked-ugly interchange.