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Allston I-90 Intermodal Interchange Improvement Project

*On October 28, 2020, the City of Cambridge sent a letter to Secretary Pollack in support of the Modified At-grade Alternative for the throat area of the I-90 Intermodal project in Allston. Read the letter here.*

The Allston I-90 Intermodal Interchange Improvement Project is being conducted by MassDOT and results from the need to replace the structurally deficient, functionally obsolete Allston Viaduct. This also offers the opportunity opportunity to dramatically reduce the footprint of the Mass Turnpike in Allston and along with Harvard University, the property owner, create a new neighborhood in Allston. In planning for new turnpike access, the project is looking at all transportation facilities and connections including a new roadway system, as well as bicycle and pedestrian facilities and the creation of a new transit hub on the Worcester/Framingham Commuter Line to be known as West Station. Additional bus service and additional future transit service are also part of the vision for West Station.  Since 2014, MassDOT and its design team have worked with a task force composed of local residents, advocates, representatives of local institutions and businesses, and officials both elected and appointed, to develop a concept for the replacement of the Allston Interchange which includes:

  • Complete streets improvements to Cambridge Street.
  • Enhanced bicycle and pedestrian connectivity among the different parts of Allston touched by the project area and the Charles River.
  • Improved paths and green space along the Charles River
  • A significant transit enhancement in the form of West Station and Commuter Rail Layover which will provide access and operational improvements to the commuter rail and an intermodal focal point for local bus service.
  • A realigned I-90 mainline, straightened to take full advantage of the safety enhancements made possible by AET.
  • A replaced I-90 Allston Viaduct to ensure that this section of a critical regional highway can continue to safely and efficiently carry traffic to and from Boston.
  • Connecting roadways between Cambridge Street and I-90 built, to the fullest extent practical and safe, on complete streets principles to clearly signal to motorists leaving the highway that they are entering a community.

Cambridge is involved with the task force team which meets regularly and includes two members from Cambridge - a resident and a Community Development staff person. The City of Cambridge representatives are focused on many aspects of the project including providing enhanced connectivity through the site to the Charles River and across to Cambridge for all modes, as well as project noise, urban design/green space and improved transit connections to Cambridge.


October 2020

On October 28, 2020, the City of Cambridge sent a letter to Secretary Pollack in support of the Modified At-grade Alternative for the throat area of the I-90 Intermodal project in Allston. Read the letter here.

June 2020

In fall 2019, MassDOT filed a draft National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) scoping document as a first step in federal environmental permitting, based on a design identified by MassDOT in January 2019 in this memo. The City of Cambridge submitted comments on the design and construction staging which are found in this letter.

Following the submission of several hundred comments on the proposed design and construction staging, MassDOT and Federal Highway have been reviewing the comments and discussing whether to move forward with the previously proposed design, modify it, or review another design. Meetings of both the Fiscal Management Control Board and the Allston I-90 Task Force are scheduled for Monday June 22. More information about how to listen in and comment during those meetings can be found below.

Fiscal Management Control Board Meeting

Monday, June 22, 11:00 AM

The meeting will be live-streamed here. Public comment can be submitted one of three ways:

  1. Written comment via email to publiccomment@dot.state.ma.us or mailed to MassDOT at 10 Park Plaza, 2nd Floor, Suite 2890, Boston, MA 02116.
  2. Voice message comment may be submitted by calling 857-368-1655 and leaving a message by 10:00am Monday, June 22.
  3. Real-time comment may be made through telephone conference call; please email publiccomment@dot.state.ma.us by 10:00am Monday, June 22 to sign up.

Allston I-90 Task Force Meeting

Monday, June 22, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The agenda for this meeting will include 1) an update on the advancing state and federal environmental processes and 2) an overview of project progress since December of 2019. Register to attend the webinar here. If you have problems signing up, please email Nathaniel Curtis at ncabral-curtis@hshassoc.com. You can participate by computer or telephone. 

Cambridge Comment Letter on Independent Review Team Report

The City of Cambridge has submitted a comment letter in response to the Independent Review Team report on the Throat portion of the project. Read the comment letter here.

Independent Review Team Report

Based on many strong comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report, MassDOT engaged a new, independent team of consultants to review and optimize options for the Throat area of the I-90 project, the most constrained area of the project. That team had 90 days to conduct this review and has produced a report.

Draft Environmental Impact Comments

On February 9, 2018 the City of Cambridge submitted its comments on MassDOT's Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Allston I-90 project. The city's comments may be found here. After review of all comments submitted, the state's MEPA office released a certificate with conditions for the project to address. The certificate may be found here. Cambridge will continue to be involved with this process while MassDOT develops a final proposed design. In the fall of 2019 a Final Environmental Impact Report is expected to be released and there will be an additional period for public comments.  

Public Meeting Scheduled for January 3, 2018

A meeting will be held to provide the public with an introductory overview to the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Allston I-90 Interchange Project. It will provide attendees with guidance on how to comment on the document. In case of inclement weather on the 3rd, this meeting will be held on January 10, 2018.

When: January 3, 2018, 6:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.

Where: Morse School, 40 Granite Street, Cambridge 

For more information, please see the project webpage. 

Project documentation can be found on the Mass Department of Transportation project webpage.

The elevated viaduct carries the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) through the Allston/Brighton area with Cambridge Street and Soldiers Field Road to the north and Brighton Avenue to the south. This section of the Massachusetts Turnpike has an Average Daily Traffic volume of approximate 144,000 vehicles per day. The viaduct is the primary East-West route between Western Massachusetts, Worcester and Boston, and experiences extensive vacation traffic during the weekends in the summer and winter. Average daily traffic volumes for the Massachusetts Turn pike west of the Allston Interchange are 142,000 and east of the Allston interchange are 147,000. Average daily traffic volumes for Cambridge Street are 38,000, Soldiers Field Road are 66,000 and the Allston Interchange Ramps are 66,000.

The I-90 Allston viaduct is nearing the end of its useful lifespan and must be replaced to prevent the bridge from becoming structurally deficient. The replacement of the bridge provides an opportunity to reconfigure the Allston Interchange which dates to the 1965 extension of the Massachusetts Turnpike to downtown Boston. This project is in alignment with MassDOT's plan to convert the Massachusetts Turnpike to all electronic tolling which will operate at highway speeds.

For additional information, or to be added to future informational mailing lists, please contact:

Nathaniel Curtis, Howard/Stein-Hudson, Public Involvement Specialist

ncabral-curtis@hshassoc.com

(617) 482-7080 x236