Friday, October 13, 2000
Route 3 median trees to be cut this month
The Route 3 widening project has started. Test borings are underway where bridge and roadway foundations will be constructed and the Modern Construction Company, which has the three-year $385 million dollar contract for the project, has started production of 52 miles of concrete Jersey barriers which will be used to separate the traffic from the work areas. Area residents have been shocked to learn of a third initial activity: all the trees in the median strip are slated to be cut this month along the entire 21 miles between the Route 3/128 interchange in Burlington and the end of the widening project in Tyngsboro. Actual work on the roadway will not begin until next year.
A new highway design plan
The Route 3 North Transportation Improvement Project is known as a design build plan and represents a new venture in highway construction. Instead of the state raising and appropriating monies for the project and bearing inflation and over-run costs, a contract for the entire project has been awarded to the Modern Continental Construction Company. Modern will absorb cost overruns and will be able to put enough capital in to complete the project in three years. The contract, approved by the legislature, calls for renewal of all 30 bridges (19 of them are already structurally deficient or functionally obsolete), the addition of a third lane in each direction, improvements at 13 interchanges, two park-and-ride lots (Tyngsboro and Bedford) and two tourist information areas. Design plans and eventual changes are at the discretion of the developer, that is, any business or community that wants to change any part of the design must appeal to Modern's staff which has the final say on whether or not to amend the proposed plan. Provision for the Bruce Freeman Bike path is an an example of a publicly espoused change which depends not on the usual channels for amending road plans, but on the disposition of the developer to change the initial design to include the path.
Residents who wish to comment on the plans for the median strip growth are under a serious time constraint, since the trees are slated to come down this month. The project is on the web at www.route3construction.com and that site will yield information on the current status of the widening operation. Additional information about Route 3 widening may be available on the state web site, www.state.ma.us/mhd. Modern also has a project community outreach liason, Mary Carrier, who meets with an advisory council which is open to the public, on the first Thursday of each month.
Comments may be addressed to Carol Cleven and Susan Fago and the chairman of the transportation subcommittee John Havern at 617-722-1432. See additional information in a letter on page 2.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito