Friday, November 3, 2000
"We're not going to cut any trees we don't have to," says John Greeley, spokesman for Modern Continental, the developer who has the contract for widening Route 3. However, few trees will be left after crews begin the clearing for two additional lanes on the median strip of Route 3 between Route128 and Tyngsboro this month. Construction of the two lanes will start next spring.
Modern Continental is paying a subcontractor to do the cutting and dispose of the brush. The wood will be chipped and the chips sold to a power plant. In a recent telephone interview, Greeley said that the plans for cutting in the midstrip were announced by Mass Highway five or six years ago, and that the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Environmental Protection have approved the existing plan. Wetlands within Mass Highway's right-of-way will have to be replicated within 90 days of receiving the permit. Mass Highway holds the permits as "it's still not our road" explained Greely, despite the fact that the legislature gave Modern Continental ground rights to the land for the next 30 or so years.
A lead article in the Boston Sunday Globe on October 29 entitled "Commuters brace for Route 3 work" warned that traffic may clog surrounding towns when construction starts. Greely says a park-and-ride lot in Tyngsboro, which is part of the approved plan, will relieve traffic congestion somewhat. However, others counter that the 250 parking spaces are only "a drop in the bucket" and that a proposed additional 250 spaces in Tyngsboro will not solve the congestion problem. A park-and-ride lot has been designated for the Bedford area, but Modern Continental has not yet acquired land for it.
While most planners see traffic problems as regional, there has been little regional planning effort. Although local conservation commissions have jurisdiction over the wetlands within their area, collectively there is little that local bodies and individuals can do to impact the project. Modern Continental has been selected to implement Mass Highway's plans.
The state has an Internet site at www.route3construction.com which provides an e-mail information list.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito