Thomas J. Butler Freight Corridor and Memorial Park


EAST FIRST STREET - SOUTH BOSTON, MA


Background
The Thomas J. Butler Freight Corridor and Memorial Park project has been in the planning phases for many years and represents a successful collaboration between Massport, local elected officials, several state agencies and the South Boston community.

Massport owns and operates Conley Container Terminal along East First Street in South Boston. In anticipation of projected growth in container operations at Conley Terminal, Massport has planned a series of facility and operational improvements. These improvements are included in Massport’s Capital Program, at an estimated cost of $35 million, include three key components:

  1. Integration of the former Coastal Oil site into Conley Terminal to enable the Port of Boston to respond to future global shipping demand;
  2. Construction of a new 2/3-mile dedicated truck haul road (Thomas J. Butler Freight Corridor) that will allow Massport to remove all container truck traffic from East First Street and portions of Summer Street; and
  3. Construction of a new 4.2-acre community open space (Thomas J. Butler Memorial Park) to be built and maintained by Massport. The Memorial Park will serve as a significant noise and visual buffer for the adjacent residents and create a significant new amenity for the neighborhood.

With these important investments Massport will be able to grow and modernize Conley Terminal to remain competitive and better serve the Boston and New England economies, as well as to make major and immediate improvements to address the impacts of container operations on area residents.

Overall, the improvements being permitted will enable throughput capacity at Conley Terminal approaching 500,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year.

Project Milestones

  • Massport filed an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) on May 15, 2013 with the MEPA Office (Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act) within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) office seeking to permit all three project components under a single ENF filing, with the freight corridor and buffer space generally being considered to be mitigation for the build-out and use of the former Coastal Oil property. A MEPA certificate from EEA office was issued on July 12, 2013 which permitted the project.
  • The current project schedule calls for completing design on Contract 1 by late-2013, bidding the project and starting construction in spring 2014. The project does not include the build-out of berth infrastructure at the former Coastal Oil site. This is envisioned as a future project, which will be designed and permitted separately from the current project. This project is not funded in the current Massport Capital Program.
  • Massport broke ground on this project in June 2014.

Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)

  • The DFC will connect the existing truck processing gates at Conley Terminal with a new intersection on Summer Street located to the south of the Reserved Channel.
  • The new roadway will remove all Conley Terminal container truck traffic from East First Street and a portion of Summer Street; terminal employees will continue to access the facility through a vehicular gate (down-sized from the existing access point) at Farragut Road.
  • The roadway will include a single travel lane in each direction, with expanded pavement areas for security screening and truck queuing; new security screening will be integrated into the road design at the western end of the terminal; ample queuing area will be created to avoid future truck queuing on city streets.
  • The road will traverse the former Coastal Oil property, former MBTA/DCR property, and land currently owned by the Exelon Corporation. A bridge structure will be built across the embayment on the Exelon property to allow the road to join Summer Street and avoid extensive subsurface and waterfront infrastructure on the Exelon property.
  • The new road will preserve necessary access for the MBTA operations along East First Street, and it will provide access to the existing lobster terminal along the Reserved Channel. 

Assembling the Right of Way

  • Massport acquisition of former Coastal Oil site in 2008 secured the eastern 1/3 of the haul road right of way.
  • Passed in July of 2010, H. 4801 authorized the transfer of MBTA and DCR land to Massport to secure mid-section of haul road right-of-way.
  • MBTA will retain necessary land for existing bus and power operations on-site; Massport has worked with MBTA to ensure that their bus and power operations are not impaired.
  • Massport is in productive, on-going discussions with Exelon Corporation regarding the proposed roadway alignment across their power plant property.

Buffer Open Space

  • H. 4801 designated as Article 97 an area north of East First Street for permanent open space buffer between East First Street and proposed haul road.
  • The buffer open space will be created along the northern side of East First Street, extending from Farragut Road to the Exelon property, a length of approximately 2,000 feet.
  • The buffer will be 100’ deep measured north-south from the existing East First Street right-of-way, except in the area of the bus layover yard where the buffer depth may be reduced to approximately 80 feet.
  • Buffer will create new linear open space connection between Castle Island and other DCR parks along the harbor, the existing parks and playgrounds along East First Street, and community to the west.
  • Per H. 4801, Massport convened a community advisory committee to design the buffer open space. This committee has met with Massport and its consultants throughout the last year to develop the design of the buffer.
  • The design of the buffer will be primarily passive in nature and will include a sidewalk at the back of the curb, on-street parking, end-to-end multi-use path, varied and extensive plantings, a concrete sound barrier along the northern edge, a security fence enclosure, and seating, lighting, a water fountain, bike racks, and other amenities.

Conley Terminal Landside Improvements

  • Project will permit the expansion of container storage onto the former Coastal Oil property in an east-west alignment consistent with the layout of container handling operations on Conley today.
  • Planned improvements will include option to store both full and empty boxes, and possible reefer storage, in stacks served by rubber-tire gantries.
  • These improvements have the potential to expanded grounded container storage from approximately 3,854 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) to approximately 6,500 TEUs.
  • DFC will pass along the southern edge of the former Coastal Oil property, just north of the buffer, thus maximizing usable terminal footprint.
  • Expanded terminal security perimeter will include the entire former Coastal Oil property, including the creation of security checkpoint at the western end of the facility.
  • Initial build of the DFC will tie into existing in-bound and out-bound container processing facilities; long-term, these structures may be reorganized within the Conley footprint to further improve terminal operational efficiency.

*For Conley Terminal noise-related complaints or comments, please call 617-464-8245 and follow the directions for leaving a message.

Project Updates

11-18-2014
Installation of the precast for the noise wall began.
View Photos

Thomas J. Butler Freight Corridor and Memorial Park Project Map

*For Conley Terminal noise related complaints or comments, please call 617-464-8245 and follow the directions for leaving a message or email:
 maritimenoise@massport.com