The engineers’ plan for the next 90 days of work on the Casey Arborway calls for both lanes of the existing bridge shunted to new surface roads by March.
That’s just one major takeaway from Wednesday’s tumultuous meeting between the project team and an overflow crowd of nearly 400 at English High School.
As many as half the people in the crowd sported “Forest Hills Needs a Bridge” signs, but the state officials running the meeting again and again said the session was about construction plans, not alternate designs. A committed group of residents, including some politicians, seeks to reverse plans to replace the bridge with a system of at-grade roads.
Here are highlights from the plans for the next three months as presented by the Department of Transportation and their contractor, Barletta Heavy Division.
Before either of the Casey Overpass lanes are closed, new roads will be built along the Arborway to handle traffic that’s just passing through JP. The westbound lane of the Casey would be shut by late February. The eastbound lane would be closed fully by March.
“There’s one lane now and there’s one lane during the work,” said Tom Russo, superintendent of the project for Barletta.
There are incentives in Barletta’s contract for quickly getting the bridge down.
“We have a structurally deficient bridge,” said Steve McLaughlin, project manager for MassDOT. “We want temporary roadways built as soon as possible. We’re trying to protect the residents of JP and people who drive through.”
Several residents questioned the project team’s assertion that there won’t be any detours in the first three months of work. One person, whose name Jamaica Plain News didn’t catch, said drivers will of their own accord find detours through surrounding neighborhoods.
Several residents spoke out against the decision to detail only 90 days’ worth of work instead of addressing disruptions expected throughout the two-and-a-half year construction process.
Dust and Noise
Alex Kasprak, an environmental analyst with MassDOT, said the same protocols used during the Big Dig would be in place.
Workers will take steps like putting noise-reducing fittings on their jackhammers, he said. A baseline of existing noise has been taken, he said, and noise levels will be monitored. If the construction crews go over those levels, a MassDOT monitor will have them take steps to decrease the noise.
Residents can file complaints to a dedicated hotline: 617-571-7878.
Air quality will also be monitored. Kasprak said Barletta’s contract limits idling to five minutes for all equipment.
Much of the Casey project includes elements that impact Forest Hills Station. Among them are moving where school buses pick up and drop off and building a new underground station entry beneath the Casey Arborway.
Barletta’s contract includes as many as eight weekend diversions from the station and up to 56 early shut-downs of the station.
The next public meeting on the project is set for March 9. Watch Jamaica Plain News for details on time and location.
[Editor’s note: I’ve fixed a misspelling in the headline.]