State Senator Michael Rodrigues and Jeffrey Simon at the Route 24 Interchange

A new biotechnology park that will straddle the border of Fall River and Freetown is being developed, and it is a stimulus-funded road project that is essential to making this unique and ambitious project happen.

"The trigger to getting this development done was the construction of this off ramp," said State Senator Michael Rodrigues, who represents Fall River. "It was critical to this project."

Recovery Act Impact: Route 24 Interchange

  • Total stimulus funding: $32.7 million

  • Critical to development of 300-acre SouthCoast BioPark in Fall River and Freetown

  • Improved access to 325-acre business park in Freetown

Rodrigues is referring to a new interchange off Route 24 on the Fall River/Freetown line that is being funded with $32.7 million in stimulus grants. The interchange, which will be called Exit 8B, will enable access to the 300-acre biotechnology park, called SouthCoast Bio Park, and will also provide easier access to the 325 acre Riverfront Business Park on the Freetown side.

New Route 24 Interchange

The Riverfront Business Park includes a Stop and Shop Distribution center with 400 loading docks. The Park couldn't do further development without the new interchange. Recently, Meditech announced plans to develop a new building in the Park that will accomodate 800 additional employees.

The SouthCoast Bio Park already has an anchor tenant: The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is developing a product testing facility for biotechnology companies on a four-acre site. The plan, according to Paul Vigeant, vice chancellor for

New Route 24 Interchange
economic development for the university, is not only to provide more cost effective testing services but also to demonstrate to these companies that come for the testing the viability of locating their companies in the biopark.

"There is a good economic argument that this is a good place to be," he said, noting that it is much cheaper to build in this area and it is still close to the major research centers in the region.

Michelle Paul, of the Fall River Office of Economic Development, noted that a number of interested tenants have expressed interest in the Bio Park. "One of the biggest things we push is the access," she said.