I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

whighlander

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Having dealt with EISs in projects I managed, the shorter time frame makes a lot of sense. They can cover everything in 24 months.
Exactly -- the key is to get from that filing to final design in an accelerated fashion to enable construction to begin -- there is no reason why it should take a decade to start pouring concrete on this or any road project
Remember that Eisenhower*1 lived to see most of the key pieces of the Interstate System [his baby] completed [he lived until 1969] -- and construction only began in 1956

*1
“Our unity as a nation is sustained by free communication of thought and by easy transportation of people and goods. The ceaseless flow of information throughout the Republic is matched by individual and commercial movement over a vast system of interconnected highways crisscrossing the country and joining at our national borders with friendly neighbors to the north and south.

Together, the united forces of our communication and transportation systems are dynamic elements in the very name we bear—United States. Without them, we would be a mere alliance of many separate parts.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
February 22, 1955

“More than any single action by the government since the end of the war, this one would change the face of America with straightaways, cloverleaf turns, bridges, and elongated parkways. Its impact on the American economy—the jobs it would produce in manufacturing and construction, the rural areas it would open up—was beyond calculation.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower Mandate for Change 1953-1956 (1963)
 

Charlie_mta

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I agree. The rest of the developing world is pulling ahead of us. We've got to become smarter and faster at what we build in this country, or we'll soon be far behind.
 

Equilibria

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I agree. The rest of the developing world is pulling ahead of us. We've got to become smarter and faster at what we build in this country, or we'll soon be far behind.
Follow enough foreign trip reporters on Twitter/Youtube and you realize that every country thinks its falling behind.
 

whighlander

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Follow enough foreign trip reporters on Twitter/Youtube and you realize that every country thinks its falling behind.
Equilibria -- Well in a weird way is like that Garrison Keillor thing about that town in Minnesota where "All children are above average"

As countries get richer, they get more bureaucratic and with the incredible increases in computer power available to everyone-- paradoxically everything gets harder and slower

So what used to take a couple of months to plan and then a couple of years to execute -- now takes a couple of years to plan and a couple of decades to execute

Throw in more public awareness, public access and connectivity, and our general trend to evermore litigiousness and some things which got done in the past are unimaginable today -- e.g.
  • Filling the Back Bay
  • Digging the Green Line subway under a corner of the Common including moving a good fraction of an even then historic graveyard
  • Filling the harbor to create Logan
Well -- we need to reverse the forces leading to interminable delay and the amazing amounts of "sand in our gearbox"-- we need to get back to a time when we could do big things in the public infrastructure
 

statler

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Throw in more public awareness, public access and connectivity, and our general trend to evermore litigiousness and some things which got done in the past are unimaginable today -- e.g.
  • Digging the Green Line subway under a corner of the Common including moving a good fraction of an even then historic graveyard
True. If there is one thing we could never do in these modern times is build a giant tunnel in the city.
 

Equilibria

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Well -- we need to reverse the forces leading to interminable delay and the amazing amounts of "sand in our gearbox"-- we need to get back to a time when we could do big things in the public infrastructure
Things like obliterating the West End? No, I'll take some thoughtfulness and environmental responsibility...
 

whighlander

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Things like obliterating the West End? No, I'll take some thoughtfulness and environmental responsibility...
Equilibria -- you are missing the point

The key to making progress without major delay and without major disturbance to the environment is to use best available practice -- not to start from scratch each and every time
The current system is just a full employment program for a myriad of consultants and attorneys
The consultants by the way take full advantage of the wonders of computer documents to magnify the amount of extraneous materials*1 included in their reports [essentially they are paid by the page]

*1 example of useless material -- shadow studies for Dec 21 early morning and later afternoon -- who cares there is no sun then to worry about
 

meddlepal

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I'm skeptical shadow studies contribute major time delays or costs to a project. It's probably two or three hours of work for an engineering associate to plug the numbers into software that does all the work if it even takes that long.
 

George_Apley

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I haven’t been following this closely, but it seems there some trouble in paradise.

From Comm Mag
Charles R. advocates not on board with Soldier’s Field bypass

Gotta say, without knowing all the details, this sounds like a terrible plan. Cantilevering a limited access highway over the river for up to a decade should not happen. Mem Drive by the Longfellow is bad enough and that’s at a wider point on the Charles.
 

Equilibria

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I haven’t been following this closely, but it seems there some trouble in paradise.

From Comm Mag
Charles R. advocates not on board with Soldier’s Field bypass

Gotta say, without knowing all the details, this sounds like a terrible plan. Cantilevering a limited access highway over the river for up to a decade should not happen. Mem Drive by the Longfellow is bad enough and that’s at a wider point on the Charles.
That's what an EIS process is for. I hope they stay engaged.
 

whighlander

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That's what an EIS process is for. I hope they stay engaged.
Equilibria -- No that is what the EIS has become an mechanism for delaying and eventually settling based on "mitigation"
There is no reason why this has to take 10 years:
  1. Its a small amount of highway to reconstruct compared to the Big Dig segments
  2. There is no tunnel to dig
  3. Using the Bike Path and green strip by the river there is room to put temporary road work outside the existing footprint
Make sure that there is a side benefit to the users of the River Trails and the River itself:
  1. Example what was done to compensate for the construction of Storrow Drive in the first place
  2. Such as widening the narrowest parts of the Paul Dudley White Bike Trail and green belt along the river to the average width of the strip between the Esplanade and BU
"5 year plan" for the project:
  1. Spend the next 12 months to develop a final design and a plan to execute it -- Publish Dec 2020
  2. Give the public one last opportunity to comment 3 months [through March 2021] -- 3 months to revise anything critical based on comments
  3. Publish a final design and construction schedule April 2021 and then get out an RFP [June 2021]
  4. Bids due October 2021
  5. Selection January 2022 with contracts signed March 2022 -- Fast Track
  6. Construction prep work [temporary floating bike path] and pre-order for long lead term materials begin May 2022
  7. Demolition, simultaneously with construction where possible [e.g. temporary roads] begins September 2022
  8. Temporary roads completed December 2022 -- Major Demolition work
  9. Demolition complete with Major construction start June 2023 -- restoration follows as soon and as much as possible
  10. Major Construction complete November 2024 -- restoration final work begins
  11. Restoration substantially complete -- Dedication of new roads and paths -- June 2025
Everything wraps by the end of 2025 -- there is about 3 months of slop in the above to allow for unexpected contingencies -- Note there should be financial incentives built into the schedule
 

HelloBostonHi

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They released the first scoping document which essentially kicks off the NEPA process. It's a 109 page beast that I am simply not invested enough in to read but I'm sure someone is: http://ow.ly/hFpg30pQADM

I believe this also kicks off a 30 day public comment period on this part of the process.
 

whighlander

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They released the first scoping document which essentially kicks off the NEPA process. It's a 109 page beast that I am simply not invested enough in to read but I'm sure someone is: http://ow.ly/hFpg30pQADM

I believe this also kicks off a 30 day public comment period on this part of the process.
HelloBoston__ It's not nearly as daunting as it appears [I spent about 30 minutes with it last night and this morning]

There are about a dozen pages worth reading with about another dozen plus pages of drawings, maps, pictures and a few tables and an essential nearly 2 pages of acronyms.

The rest is useless, bit-wasting boiler plate as is typical in anything generated by government agencies [don't forget the Paperwork Reduction Act of [1980 ] and all subsequent revisions*1 [just printing that notice itself has probably caused the death of millions of trees for the extra pages] -- not to be confused with the Plain Writing Act of 2010 with accompanying Guidelines updated annually*2 and of course the obligatory [THIS PAGE LEFT BLANK INTENTIONALLY]

The bottom line is this timetable [with the lean forward supplied by my edit]

Project & Public Review Milestones Anticipated Completion Date
Notice of Intent Publication October 2019
Scoping Report Publication November 2019 [this document]
Completion of the DEIS January 2021
Completion of FEIS/ROD October 2021
Completion of permits, licenses, or approvals after the ROD January 2022

and this website for future information https://www.mass.gov/allston-multimodal-project

A brief summary of the document
The scoping process is the public’s first opportunity to comment on the Project during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. This scoping document describes the Project’s purpose and need (Section 2), alternatives and alternative screening analysis (Section 3), methodology to be used when evaluating each alternative during the NEPA environmental review process (Section 4), as well as opportunities for agency coordination and public involvement (Section 5). As described in Section 5, a variety of outreach methods will be used to engage with state and federal agencies as well as the public throughout the NEPA process.

1. What is the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project and where is it located?
2. What is the National Environmental Policy Act and why does it apply to this project?
3. What is the purpose of this Scoping Report?
4. How can the public provide comments on this document?

The Interstate 90 (I-90) Allston Multimodal Project (the Project) is located in Boston, Massachusetts, specifically in the Allston neighborhood and bordering on the Charles River. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), as the Project sponsor, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), as the lead federal agency, propose to address the deficiencies within the existing highway interchange at the I-90 exits 18, 19 and 20.
You'll be happy to know that this going to happen in some fashion [could be the NO BUILD} -- how do we know this -- they have an official Logo

But don't hold your breath as the timetable is such that 8 to 10 years of construction can't even start until 2022


3.3.6 Summary of Alternative Decisions In summary, the following alternatives are suggested for dismissal from further evaluation as they have not been deemed reasonable per the alternative screening criteria described above (Section 3.3).
• Major Rehabilitation and Replacement Alternative
• 3L Re-alignment Alternative: Highway Viaduct Throat Area Option
• 3L Re-alignment Alternative: At-Grade Throat Area Option
• 3L Re-alignment Alternative: MEPA DEIR West Station and Rail Layout Option
• 3L Re-alignment Alternative: Flip West Station and Rail Layout Option

Alternatives recommended for further study in the DEIS include:
• No Build Alternative
• 3L Re-alignment Alternative with the SFR Hybrid Throat Area and Modified Flip West Station and Rail Layout



Preferred concept
Since the Secretary's decision, MassDOT's design team has been refining the design and continuing the permitting process at the state and federal level.
This concept includes:
  • Using the Complete Streets principles to design the roads between Cambridge Street and I-90. The changes will let motorists leaving the highway know that they are entering a city neighborhood. The changes will include protected intersections and pedestrian friendly traffic signal timing.
  • An urban interchange to replace the existing loop ramps
  • Replacing the I-90 Allston Viaduct with a straightened road at ground level
  • Soldiers’ Field Road on a new viaduct
  • Improvements to the Paul Dudley White Path and Charles River Parkland
  • A separated bicycle facility in the former Beacon Park Yard starting at Lincoln Street and running alongside Cambridge Street South, providing a connection to the Paul Dudley White Path.
  • Enhanced bicycle and pedestrian connections from lower Allston and Boston University to the Charles River. Separate pathways for pedestrians and cyclists wherever possible.
  • Improved open space along the Charles River within the project area.
  • West Station and a Commuter Rail Layover facility
The public and agencies are invited to provide comment on the Project alternatives presented in this report as part of the scoping process. At the conclusion of scoping, MassDOT and FHWA will identify those reasonable alternatives that will be carried forward for analysis in the DEIS.
Finally for those who don't believe that one who is skeptical of the value of most bureaucracy -- there's the master list of all of the agencies involved [even if one minutely and peripherally] [formatting is left to the reader]


*1 from wiki on Paperwork Reduction Act
The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (Pub. L. No. 96-511, 94 Stat. 2812, codified at 44 U.S.C. §§ 35013521) is a United States federal law enacted in 1980 designed to reduce the total amount of paperwork burden the federal government imposes on private businesses and citizens. The Act imposes procedural requirements on agencies that wish to collect information from the public. It also established the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and authorized this new agency to oversee federal agencies' collection of information from the public and to establish information policies. A substantial amendment, the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995,[4] confirmed that OIRA's authority extended over not only agency orders to provide information to the government, but also agency orders to provide information to the public.[5]
*2 from wiki on Plain Writing Act
on October 13, 2010 by President Obama, the Plain Writing Act of 2010 (H.R. 946; Pub.L. 111–274) is a United States federal law that requires that federal executive agencies:
  • Use plain writing in every covered document that the agency issues or substantially revises[3]
  • Train employees in "plain writing"
  • Establish a process for overseeing the agency's compliance with this Act
  • Create and maintain a plain writing section on the agency's website to inform the public of agency compliance with the requirements of this Act
  • Provide a mechanism for the agency to receive and respond to public input on agency implementation and agency reports required under this Act, and be accessible from its homepage
  • Designate one or more agency points-of-contact to receive and respond to public input on the implementation of this Act
 

whighlander

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HelloBoston__ It's not nearly as daunting as it appears [I spent about 30 minutes with it last night and this morning]

There are about a dozen pages worth reading with about another dozen plus pages of drawings, maps, pictures and a few tables and an essential nearly 2 pages of acronyms.

The rest is useless, bit-wasting boiler plate as is typical in anything generated by government agencies [don't forget the Paperwork Reduction Act of [1980 ] and all subsequent revisions*1 [just printing that notice itself has probably caused the death of millions of trees for the extra pages] -- not to be confused with the Plain Writing Act of 2010 with accompanying Guidelines updated annually*2 and of course the obligatory [THIS PAGE LEFT BLANK INTENTIONALLY]


Finally for those who don't believe that one who is skeptical of the value of most bureaucracy -- there's the master list of all of the agencies involved [even if one minutely and peripherally] [formatting is left to the reader]


Table 2 Cooperating and Participating Agencies
Agency Agency Role Responsibilities
Project Sponsor
Massachusetts Department of Transportation – Highway Department (MassDOT) Massachusetts Department of Transportation – Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) Lead State Agency and Project Sponsor Plan and design project; facilitate environmental review process; facilitate opportunity for public and agency involvement
Federal Agencies
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Lead Federal Agency Manage environmental review process; prepare NEPA decision document Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Cooperating Agency (accepted) Rail and Bus Operations U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Cooperating Agency (accepted) Issue Section 9 Bridge Permit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Cooperating Agency (accepted) Issue Section 404/Section 10 Permit, Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Cooperating Agency (accepted) U.S. EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Clean Water Act, Section 402; Section 404 Clean Water Act Clean Air Act Section 309 (NEPA) review and coordination U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Cooperating Agency (invitation not accepted) Consultation for Individual Section 4(f) Evaluation, U.S. Department of Transportation Act Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Participating Agency (accepted) Intracity rail movements Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Participating Agency (accepted) Consultation for Section 106 review pursuant to National Historic Preservation Act U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Participating Agency (accepted) Consultation for Section 7, Endangered Species Act; Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act for Section 404 Permit Amtrak Participating Agency (accepted) Intracity rail movements National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Declined invitation to participate as a Cooperating or Participating Agency Consultation for Section 7, Endangered Species Act; Consultation for Essential Fish Habitat, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 68 Agency Agency Role Responsibilities
State Agencies
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Cooperating Agency (invited) Section 401 of Clean Water Act (314 CMR 9.00) Water Quality Certification (Filling & Excavation); Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act Appeals M.G.L Ch. 131 Sec. 40, (310 CMR 10.00) Order of Conditions Section 401 of Clean Water Act (314 CMR 9.00) Water Quality Certification (Dredging); Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act Appeals M.G.L Ch. 131 Sec. 40, (310 CMR 10.00) Order of Conditions Massachusetts Public Waterways Act: M.G.L Ch. 91, (310 CMR 9.00) Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Cooperating Agency (accepted) Article 97 of the 1972 Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution Construction Access Permit Massachusetts State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) Cooperating Agency (invited) Consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (36 CFR 800); Consultation for Section 4(f) Evaluation, U.S. Department of Transportation Act Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office (MEPA) Participating Agency (invitation not accepted) Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) Participating Agency (accepted) Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Participating Agency (invited)
City Agencies
Boston Conservation Commission Participating Agency (invited) Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act M.G.L Ch. 131 Sec. 40 (310 CMR 10.00) Order of Conditions City of Boston, Public Works Department Participating Agency (accepted) City of Boston, Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Participating Agency (accepted) Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) Participating Agency (invited)
 

tangent

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I haven’t been following this closely, but it seems there some trouble in paradise.

From Comm Mag
Charles R. advocates not on board with Soldier’s Field bypass

Gotta say, without knowing all the details, this sounds like a terrible plan. Cantilevering a limited access highway over the river for up to a decade should not happen. Mem Drive by the Longfellow is bad enough and that’s at a wider point on the Charles.

Up to a decade... Seems these projects are designed under the pretense that we must minimize disruption at the expense of, well, everything else. And we still end up with loads of disruption comparable to just shutting down the road for a few years and getting the damn thing done faster at less cost.

Shut down I-90 and Soldiers Field Road for 4 months one Summer, knock down everything, and re-build it all at grade in the new alignment.
 

mass88

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Up to a decade... Seems these projects are designed under the pretense that we must minimize disruption at the expense of, well, everything else. And we still end up with loads of disruption comparable to just shutting down the road for a few years and getting the damn thing done faster at less cost.

Shut down I-90 and Soldiers Field Road for 4 months one Summer, knock down everything, and re-build it all at grade in the new alignment.
If a 4 month stretch is too much, why not break it up into say 4 week chunks every summer? Have 2-3 crews working 24 hours a day for a 4 week period every summer for 3-4 years and do additional work throughout the year? It seems insane that this project could very well take over 13 years from concept to completion.
 

Wash

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Would this project be any easier if we decided to "de-highwayify" Storrow Drive and Soldier's Field Road?
 

jklo

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Up to a decade... Seems these projects are designed under the pretense that we must minimize disruption at the expense of, well, everything else. And we still end up with loads of disruption comparable to just shutting down the road for a few years and getting the damn thing done faster at less cost.
Politically shutting down the Pike for any extended time is a non-starter, even during summer. You'd have an easier time getting the Worcester Line shut down.
 

millerm277

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Would this project be any easier if we decided to "de-highwayify" Storrow Drive and Soldier's Field Road?
Unless your proposal is to make them no longer a roadway at all, I don't see how "boulevarding" or anything of the sort would be likely to make much of a difference to the construction schedule, or even what you wind up building.

The current proposal is stacking SFR/Storrow over the Pike in the narrowest choke point. Even if it was some nice boulevard further east (or west), you'll still have basically the same thing needing to be built in the most constrained section of the project if you want to have any sort of roadway along the route.

Constructing that while maintaining reasonable roadway access from the West is the really the big planning challenge they're grappling with from what I can tell.

-----------------

And since there's no detailed scheduling/phasing that I've seen yet, it seems hard to evaluate what they could do instead to speed up the schedule.
 

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