I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

PT1987

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What's ironic is that even with all the delays and congestion associated with taking Storrow Drive instead of the Pike, if you look at sites like Mapquest and Waze, they oftentimes still recommend getting onto Storrow at Allston if you're going anywhere North of the Zakim bridge along 93 and even route 1 in some cases vs taking the Pike directly to 93 North. So even with the current crappy interchange from the Pike East to Storrow East at Allston, Storrow can still be the best option to get North of the City at least according to those sites.
 
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stick n move

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That's going to rack up a cost headwind for environmental mitigation, so it's wholly understandable why they'd be reluctant to do that. However, if they can winnow it down to the point where the path can "balcony" over the in-situ wall (or strengthened version of the in-situ wall worked on delicately enough), then the costs and EIS'ing are probably exponentially easier to swing. 4 feet gets *tantalizingly* close to that non-invasive sweet spot. 3 ft. better than 4, 2 feet better than 3, of course. But it's a target range you can potentially work with, and work well. Being able to partially-platform the path over the wall ends up way better for not touching the dirty dirt than anything which requires the wall to be outright moved.

4 feet is close enough that there's probably a non-invasive/non-expensive solution you can engineer within that.
There were a few renders released for cantilevering the path over the water without putting any piles into the river itself and one with the path over storrow. I wonder if any of these are on the table for a proposal.

EB94EE03-7B5F-4071-AFE6-B30106DEDE10.jpeg

32E81295-DF47-4154-9FCE-5D19BC68EB19.jpeg
 

JeffDowntown

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There were a few renders released for cantilevering the path over the water without putting any piles into the river itself and one with the path over storrow. I wonder if any of these are on the table for a proposal.

View attachment 14944
View attachment 14945
People without an engineering background should not be allowed to publicly release renderings of "proposals" (AKA fantasies.)
 

Charlie_mta

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jklo

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I wish they would just go with the option of replacing the viaduct pretty much as is. That's the only one that's ever going to happen anyway, so just get on with that one and stop pursuing other schemes.
I do think they should be able to at least ground the non-throat part. But otherwise yeah.
 

Charlie_mta

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Is the Mass Pike completely above flood level east of here into downtown?
The Feds can't do anything about that portion of the Pike because it's already there and is "grandfathered" in. I just hope they're okay with lowering the Pike to ground level west of the throat through the current interchange area. Even if the viaduct is replaced with a new one in roughly the same location thru the throat area, that option still includes grounding the Pike in the area west of the throat.
 

JeffDowntown

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BostonTrainGuy

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So is that a reason for building a brim along the river edge at this point and placing the linear park on top? I'm sure that can't be done either, right? This is getting crazy.
 

JeffDowntown

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So is that a reason for building a brim along the river edge at this point and placing the linear park on top? I'm sure that can't be done either, right? This is getting crazy.
There is a small section of the throat area of Soldier's Field Road that is at risk in the 2070 scenarios, but the entirety of Storrow Drive is at risk then as well, so I am not sure of the point?
 

393b40

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We should start taking bets on the outcome of this project by 2030. My simoleans are on “Never Happens”.
 

Charlie_mta

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If MassDOT at the beginning had simply said. "We are replacing the viaduct and reconfiguring the Allston interchange to open up land for development", I think it would have gone on rather smoothly. Instead, MassDOT opened up the EIS to all kinds of fantastical schemes that inevitably raised major red flags with environmental permitting agencies, local governments, and the public. The KISS method would have been appropriate here but instead this thing got sidelined, maybe permanently, by endless navel gazing and hand-wringing.
 

stick n move

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A 7/16 Commonwealth Magazine article: https://commonwealthmagazine.org/transportation/feds-throw-huge-wrench-in-i-90-allston-project/

Feds are very not on board with at-grade.

“Federal officials, however, are taking the position that the current at-grade design is not in compliance because the Turnpike runs below flood plain elevation even though the roadway would be set back from the river.”

This is bs.

This is because the elevated sfr proposal that was looking to be the leading candidate drops well below the existing ground level and bank of the charles, much more than any other option including all at grade as you can see by the dotted line.


The at grade option only slightly dips below in the east bound lane and doesnt dip below the river bank at all, it just flattens out the ground level.


The “modified” rebuild as is option is the least of the offenders, but even this slightly dips below current ground level in the eastbound lane of sfr.


So it doesnt really make any sense why the feds would specifically single out the all at grade option as untenable, when it appears that the elevated sfr proposal is by far the worst offender as far as dropping below the flood plain. If anything the elevated sfr proposal should be the one taken off the table and they should have to either find a way to work with the at grade proposal or rebuild as is. Their argument for why the all at grade option doesnt work is a crock of shit, especially when every proposal includes either sfr or the pike at grade.
 
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Charlie_mta

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I'm guessing that the Feds basically don't want the river filled in at all, period. Hence their opposition to the all at-grade option. I worked on another road project a few years go which attempted to fill in part of a river, and the Feds absolutely stopped it.

By the way, back in 1963 when the Pike was being designed, the original proposal was to not have a viaduct but to have all the roads on the surface thru the throat area, very much like the current option to do just that. The city of Cambridge stopped it that time, claiming it would have had a bad effect on the Cambridge side of the river.
 

stefal

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It sounded to me like the Fed has been saying this for a while with no acknowledgement or design response to their concerns, so this public letter was the next step, now that things seem to be gaining a little steam again.
 

millerm277

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“Federal officials, however, are taking the position that the current at-grade design is not in compliance because the Turnpike runs below flood plain elevation even though the roadway would be set back from the river.”

This is bs.

So it doesnt really make any sense why the feds would specifically single out the all at grade option as untenable, when it appears that the elevated sfr proposal is by far the worst offender as far as dropping below the flood plain. If anything the elevated sfr proposal should be the one taken off the table and they should have to either find a way to work with the at grade proposal or rebuild as is. Their argument for why the all at grade option doesnt work is a crock of shit, especially when every proposal includes either sfr or the pike at grade.
I don't think they're blessing the Elevated SFR proposal either, but I suppose we'd have to see the letter or get more explanation/reporting to understand the objections more fully. If he really has been warning MassDOT since 2018 that their design isn't going to pass muster, I am wondering why that hasn't been more widely known or addressed.

My uninformed guess is they want the Pike elevated and don't care about if SFR is at risk of flooding because it's not an Interstate, so the modified highway viaduct is probably fine.
 

BostonTrainGuy

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I think at this point I'd flex my muscles and use eminent domain to take whatever land I needed from BU to do it right and put everything at grade. However, since the pike has to dip below Comm Ave. (maybe grandfathered?) and the Grand Junction (not grandfathered?) they are phucked . . . it's impossible to do. The Grand Junction better not be the sacrificial lamb here.
 

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