Overpass replacement to be ‘Casey Parkway’

Project timeline announced

The revised schedule for the newly-renamed Casey Parkway project was announced last night at the first Design Advisory Group (DAG) meeting.

The “25 percent design,” or first draft, for the replacement of the Casey Overpass with the new parkway will be presented to the community in October. The 75 percent design is expected by March of next year; the final design is expected by July.

Bidding by contractors will begin in October 2013 and construction is expected to be finished by October 2016, the design team announced.

The DAG, a renamed version of the previously-named Working Advisory Group (WAG), can expect to meet at least once a month—possibly more—between now and August to continue advising the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), design team municipal liaison John Romano said.

The DAG will focus on construction management, protecting local neighborhoods from cut-through traffic, maintaining MBTA bus travel times, coordinating with and providing mitigating measures for local small businesses, and not impacting the plan for the Arborway bus yard.

The Casey Overpass is the State Route 203 bridge over Washington Street and Hyde Park Avenue at the Forest Hills T Station. The aging bridge must be demolished. The process has been fraught with controversy since it was first announced in late 2010.

Some members of the DAG are still not convinced a surface road network would be a better replacement than a smaller bridge.

“There will be no further discussion on a bridge,” Romano said.

The replacement surface street—the Casey Parkway—will replace New Washington Street with six lanes. It is expected to cost $52 million and includes roughly $20 million in improvements and MBTA station upgrades.

The Arborway bus yard, located at Washington Street and the Arborway, was built as a temporary facility eight years ago and is three years overdue to be replaced by a permanent facility. The permanent facility is ready to begin being built as soon as funds are located.

The state Casey project website is at massdot.state.ma.us/caseyoverpass.

5 comments for “Overpass replacement to be ‘Casey Parkway’

  1. ghunt
    March 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    “There will be no further discussion on a bridge,” Romano said

    Amen to that!

  2. Barbara Gibson
    March 24, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Casey Parkway? – a pig in a mink coat is still a pig.

  3. P. Pomeroy
    March 22, 2012 at 8:05 am

    The surface roads still maintain that name designation for postal and emergency response needs.  For example, the MBTA engineering building is 500 Arborway.  They will likely exist in parallel.

    The street names have always been confused and convoluted in that area.  Most people do not know that the block of stores where the Dogwood Cafe is, is Washington Street.  But once you reach the traffic signal at Tower Street, it turns into Hyde Park Ave.  Washington Street is disconnected and emerges on the other side of the MBTA station.  There has been no continuity to washington Street since the latest configuration of the Forest Hills station was built in the mid-80s. I challenge any visiting tourist to try to negotiate Washington Street, or South Street for that matter.

    In any event, Forest Hills was a traffic nightmare in the 50s and 60s with streetcars adding to the fray and converging roads under the elevated train structure and raised berm railroad and bridge.  The new traffic configuration, the result of the new T station and Southwest rail corridor being depressed into the current trench, was to have fixed that in the 80s, yet traffic continues to back up in all the same places it did in the 60s. 

    Construction, now underway and with plans for new stores, condos, and added parking, which was denounced and banned by neighborhood activists consulting on the then-Forest Hills plan in the 80s, is now underway.  It is a testament to what generational changes can bring to a neighborhood.

    I predict that regardless of what ever new configuration is eventually built, history will continue to repeat itself and the whole place will be a bottleneck – much as it has been for over 50 years – only this time it will have trees. 

    What will happen, like in the mid-80s construction period, people will map out ways to get around the construction nightmare that will come to pass, and never go back that way again, and public transit patrons will have to add at least 30 minutes to their travel time just to compensate for the backups.  It was also like that in the mid-70s as well when Hatoff’s (original) gas station was where the MBTA parking lot is on the Hyde Park Ave side, and gas rationing lines would foul traffic back up the Avenue past Walk Hill Street.

    I ponder if the bridge elimination will remove the bridge support pylons which extend well below grade to a level well below the Orange Line tracks.  The original road grade is about the same as at the Dogwood, which means the bridge was visibly much higher when originally built in the post WWII era and touted as an evacuation aid in the event of nuclear attack; in those days considered surviveable.  The “hump” in the road where Washinton and Arborway meet where the 39 bus comes in was created in the 80s to connect the roads and eliminate the need for yet another bridge for surface connections.  Most of the newbies in JP don’t get that.  Only the old timers do, many of whom sit back in amazement at yet another rebuild of that area – one as each generation passes.

    My mother, who was quite young when the Casey Overpass was first built, and watched it being created, has commented on the new plan.  Her words, “What?  Are they crazy?”

    History will bear witness.

  4. Richard Heath
    March 22, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Richard Heath  
    I am excited about a new Forest Hills coming!  This will be the SECOND one I’ve seen in 40 years living here!  I am convinced that an at grade solution is the best. The DOT data changed my mind. Yet I ‘m very concerned at the rudeness and disrespect shown to state officials Tuesday night. The loud WAGs   were wrong. On behalf of my community I apologize to Mr Romano. The rude people do NOT speak for me and I live here too. The opponents of the decision are obstructionists and we cannot afford to waste time with their silliness . Let’s work together on a fine new parkway. And keep the name Arborway.  I’m certain the fine Msgr would be delighted!!

  5. March 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Shouldn’t it just be called Arborway as that is the name the road goes by on each side of Forest Hills?

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