The Allston Interchange carries the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) through the Allston/Brighton area with Cambridge Street and Soldiers Field Road to the north and Brighton Avenue to the south. This is the primary east-west route between Western Massachusetts, Worcester, and Boston. It carries heavy vacation traffic during the weekends in the summer and winter.
Average daily traffic volumes for the Turnpike:
- east of the Allston interchange are 147,000 vehicles per day (VPD)
- Cambridge Street carries 38,000 VPD
- Soldiers Field Road carries 66,000 VPD
- the Allston Interchange Ramps carry 66,000 VPD
The need to replace the Allston Viaduct, and the change to All Electronic Tolling eliminating the need for toll booths in the interchange, give us the opportunity to straighten the Turnpike in Allston and make improvements to multimodal connections.
Since the spring of 2014, MassDOT and its Design Team have been developing a concept for the replacement of the Allston Interchange. We are working with a Task Force composed of:
- local residents
- elected and appointed officials
- representatives of local institutions
- the Allston community at-large
- southern limit - former CSX Beacon Park Rail Yard, north of the Boston University Athletic Center
- northern limit - area of the I-90 Allston interchange ramps
- eastern limit - Boston University Bridge/Commonwealth Avenue
- western limit - Cambridge Street Bridge over I-90/Franklin Street footbridge
- 2014 - current concept defined in the Environmental Notification Form (ENF) submitted to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
- November 2017 - MassDOT submitted the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), identifying a preferred concept for the new interchange design
- February 2018 - EEA issued MassDOT a scope of work for a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR)
- Summer 2018 - an Independent Review Team (IRT) analyzed options for the section of the project containing the Allston Viaduct, known as "the throat"
- January 2019 - Secretary of Transportation selected the Preferred Alternative
As of the spring of 2019, MassDOT and its design team are working to file an FEIR and applicable, corresponding federal environmental documentation:
- Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
- Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)
We expect this work to run through the end of 2021, allowing construction to begin in late 2022.
- 2019, first 2 quarters - concept development
- 2019 through the end of 2020 - public outreach
- Last quarter 2019 through end of 2021 - MEPA/NEPA/Permit filings
- Mid 2020 through end of 2021 - preliminary design
- Second quarter 2021 through mid 2022 – Design-Build procurement
- Mid 2022 - construction begins, lasting 8 to 10 years
The improvements made to I-90 as part of this project will allow the interchange to continue working as a crucial part of the Commonwealth's roadway network.
- Improved livability, connectivity, and open space for residents of the Allston neighborhood.
- Improved regional mobility and roadway safety with the straightening of I-90. The project will also shrink the Allston interchange.
- Replacing the aging Allston Viaduct, decreasing the need for traffic-impacting maintenance on this section of I-90
- Creating a new open space along the Charles River
- Complete Streets improvements to Cambridge Street
- Enhanced bicycle and pedestrian connections
- Significant transit enhancements with the new West Station and Commuter Rail layover facility, providing greater access and improvements to the commuter rail and local bus service.
Since the Secretary's decision, MassDOT's design team has been refining the design and continuing the permitting process at the state and federal level.
This concept includes:
- Using the Complete Streets principles to design the roads between Cambridge Street and I-90. The changes will let motorists leaving the highway know that they are entering a city neighborhood. The changes will include protected intersections and pedestrian friendly traffic signal timing.
- An urban interchange to replace the existing loop ramps
- Replacing the I-90 Allston Viaduct with a straightened road at ground level
- Soldiers’ Field Road on a new viaduct
- Improvements to the Paul Dudley White Path and Charles River Parkland
- A separated bicycle facility in the former Beacon Park Yard starting at Lincoln Street and running alongside Cambridge Street South, providing a connection to the Paul Dudley White Path.
- Enhanced bicycle and pedestrian connections from lower Allston and Boston University to the Charles River. Separate pathways for pedestrians and cyclists wherever possible.
- Improved open space along the Charles River within the project area.
- West Station and a Commuter Rail Layover facility