The state filed a required Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office report this month for the Casey Overpass replacement project that identifies no major environmental impacts.
The MEPA filing was required as part of the Casey Overpass demolition and ensuing redevelopment of the surrounding area. Such filings are required for nearly all road works projects that significantly alter the surrounding area. A site visit by MEPA officials is scheduled for the afternoon of Dec. 13 and a public meeting at 6 p.m. to discuss the visit is scheduled for that evening at English High School at 144 McBride St.
The state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) filed an environmental notification form (ENF), a preliminary document by Nov. 15. The MEPA office will now review the ENF, and from that analysis will decide whether the project requires an environmental impact report (EIR), a more in-depth study.
The filing outlines the project, the project’s design and community process and its likely environmental impacts on the surrounding area. It outlines both the chosen new street network and the now-discarded replacement bridge alternatives as well as public outreach done on the project.
The project is expected to cut nine trees of 14 inches in diameter at chest height, which triggered the filing. New trees are expected to be planted to replace the ones being removed, but the project will pose no major environmental impact, the report says.
“Due to the urban nature of the project area, none of the presented alternatives posed significant potential impacts to the natural environment,” the filing states, which includes impacting endangered species.
The report also states that there would be “no significant changes in the vehicle-miles traveled, vehicle-hours traveled, and the average speed in the selected neighborhoods near Forest Hills” as a result of the project.
“The change in air pollutions between the existing conditions and [either a new bridge or a new street network] were determined to be minimal,” the filing concludes.
The filing also names the properties adjacent to the project that are listed the State Register of Historic Places or the state’s Historic and Archaeological Assets. They include the Arborway itself, Arnold Arboretum, Franklin Park, the Morton Street Historic District, the West Roxbury District Court House, Covenant Congregational Church and Forest Hills Cemetery. MEPA reviews consider impacts to such resources as part of the “environment.”
The filing is available at bit.ly/caseyMEPA. Comments to the MEPA office on the project are due by Jan. 8 and can be sent to [email protected], with reference EEA #14978.
The Casey Arborway, an at-grade surface street network, will replace the crumbling Casey Overpass. The Casey Overpass is the State Route 203 bridge over Washington Street at the Forest Hills T Station.
The state Casey project website is massdot.state.ma.us/caseyoverpass.
Update: This article has been edited to change the visit and meeting’s date. MassDOT changed the date after this article was published. It has also been changed to correct the email where comments should be sent.