In 2014 MassDOT completed a planning study of the Route 79-Davol Street Corridor. This study examined many options to improve safety, mobility, and connections to the Taunton Riverfront. It recommended replacing Route 79 and Davol Street with an urban boulevard.
MassDOT began Preliminary Design of the urban boulevard concept in mid-2018. A consultant team led by TranSystems has:
- Analyzed existing conditions
- Refined the urban boulevard option
- Studied traffic and noise data of different road alignments
- Undertaken environmental permitting
- Developed the 25% design of the project
- Identified potential Right of Way impacts.
The Working Group met five times from October 2018 to May 2021 to review design considerations. In August 2021, 25% design plans were submitted for MassDOT review. Two public information meetings were held in August 2021. A 25% Design Public Hearing was held in October 2021 to present the preferred alternative to the public.
At the end of the Preliminary Design phase, MassDOT will be ready to advertise the project for construction by a Design-Build team. The project is anticipated to be advertised for construction bid in Winter 2022 and mobilized for construction in early 2023.
As the project moves towards construction, we will keep you informed on progress, plans, and schedules. We will ensure lines of communication are kept open so you can let us know how we can improve conditions and help you manage through this important roadway project.
Why corridor improvements?
Route 79 between the Veterans Memorial Bridge and Central Street is a divided limited access highway. It carries two lanes in each direction. The speed limit ranges between 40 mph and 45 mph. Route 79 carries approximately between 20,000 and 30,000 vehicles per day and has excess capacity. The only access between neighborhoods east of Route 79 and the waterfront is via President Avenue. The project corridor currently lacks any bicycle accommodations. The project will combine Route 79 with northbound and southbound Davol Street to form an urban boulevard. This will create developable parcels of land to promote economic growth in the City. It will also make the corridor more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists while improving their access to the waterfront.
After a thorough review of 13 alternatives, a preferred alternative was chosen. The preferred alternative will:
- Replace Route 79 and Davol Street with an urban boulevard
- Create 19 acres of new developable parcels and 9 acres of open space
- Reduce the number of travel lanes from four to two lanes in each direction
- Establish four cross street connections between neighborhoods and waterfront
- Provide two miles of sidewalks and over two miles of shared use paths
- Add coordinated traffic signals along Route 79
- Introduce landscaping elements throughout the corridor
- Replace bridge carrying northbound Route 79 at the southern project end
- Improve stormwater and sewage systems
Construction of the corridor will take place in stages. As of November 2021, the proposed stages are:
Stage 1: Demolish existing roadways
Stage 2: Construct temporary roadway
Stage 3: Construct new Route 79
Stage 4: Demolish temporary roadway
Stage 5: Complete sidewalks and landscaping
MassDOT is working on proposed detour plans - check back for further updates.
What to expect during construction
The Route 79/ Davol Street corridor is an important route for local and regional traffic traveling north and south. The roads provide local access in and out of Fall River. Route 79 directs regional traffic north to I-495 and east and west to I-95. MassDOT is committed to shortening the duration of construction-period impacts to the greatest extent possible. Abutter access will be available at all times.
February/ March 2022: Advertisement/ request for proposals (RFP)
Spring 2022: Design-Build team selection
Summer 2022: Design-Build team awarded construction job
2023: Construction mobilization
2023 – 2026: Construction