Update on highway improvements: Land conveyed, Rte 9 work to begin, and status of 495/90 project (Updated)

Above: A stretch of Route 9 in Southborough is about to be resurfaced and improved. (image from Google Maps)

A reader caught that the state signed off on conveying land parcels in Southborough. I was asked if I could look into it and keep readers informed.

It turns out that the legislation paved the way for a project about to start on Route 9. The roadwork improvement project won’t bring major changes. But its bound to temporarily inconvenience some commuters. [Though according to news posted since I originally wrote this – hopefully not much.]*

A resurfacing project covers the 1.47 mile stretch of Route 9 from the Framingham line to just West of White Bagley Road/Breakneck Hill Road. Work will also include:

reconstruction of existing sidewalks, construction of additional sidewalks, upgrades to guardrails and traffic signs and minor improvements to existing traffic signals”

Those signals are at the intersections with Oak Hill Road/Central Street and White Bagley Road/Breakneck Hill Road. The improvements will also add bicycle lanes.

According to our State Representative’s office, the project is slated to begin in the “coming weeks”. MassDOT (the Department of Transportation) told Carolyn Dykema’s office it should be completed this fall.

To do the work MassDOT needed to take over some strips of land owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. That required legislative approval.

In a letter to the Oversight Committee, MassDOT’s Right of Way Director pledged that the former DCR parcels will be “affected in a de minimis nature”. The letter also clarified that federal funding of about $5M is on the line. To be eligible, the project needed to take place prior to a September deadline.

In July, the State House unanimously passed the final version of bill H.4389. Governor Baker approved it into law last Thursday.

Although the final bill doesn’t describe the purchased parcels, the identifying numbers and sq. ft. match the parcels listed in the original bill. Bill H.2.662 was filed by Rep. Dykema at MassDOT’s request. It specifies the parcel borders. You can read that here.

Before I dug into it, I wondered if the conveyed parcels related improvements talked about in the past for changing egress on Route 9 near Westborough. They don’t.

But since I looked – here’s an update on the 495/MassPike project. (The major changes are outside our borders, the Pike section of the project does overlap by a tad.) 

In the past, MassDOT solicited feedback on the project and surrounding area. (It looks like you can still comment here.) MassDOT’s website now states:

We are currently in the environmental review stage of this project. This will culminate in the publication of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Before this, a Draft EIR (DEIR) will identify a preferred alternative and provide preliminary analyses. These documents will be reviewed by the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office, under the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. . .

After the environmental review phase, the preferred alternative will have advanced to 25% design. Public outreach and input will be central throughout this process. The project will then be advertised under the MassDOT Design Build Program. The current timeline envisions construction from 2022-2026.

*Updated (8/15/18 12:54 pm): Southborough Wicked Local dug up more details on the project. The work will follow a night schedule and stay out of the way when possible. I briefly posted on that here.

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