Massport Opens Commercial Traffic-Only Roadway in East Boston
The Multimillion Dollar Project Will Take Thousands of Airport-related Commercial Vehicles Off Residential Streets Each Year
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today joined local, state and federal officials as well as family members of the late Martin A. Coughlin to open a new $23.5 million access road that will be used by airport-related commercial traffic, and will minimize congestion on East Boston streets. The roadway named in honor of the longtime East Boston community activist will improve the quality of life in East Boston by improving air quality, and traffic flow. It was Coughlin’s idea to use an abandoned railroad corridor as a roadway for airport traffic.
“The Martin A. Coughlin Bypass Road is a great example of the quality of life improvements that can be made by thinking creatively and collaboratively about abandoned infrastructure,” said Massport Board Chairman Richard A. Davey, and MassDOT Secretary & CEO. “The new roadway also complements the new Chelsea Street Bridge by allowing traffic in the area to flow more efficiently.”
“The opening of the Martin A. Coughlin Bypass Road marks a significant milestone in Massport’s commitment to minimize Logan Airport’s impact on our East Boston neighbors,” said Thomas Glynn, Massport’s CEO & Executive Director. “Thousands of airport-related commercial vehicles will no longer use East Boston’s streets. Massport is proud to make Mr. Coughlin’s vision a reality for East Boston.”
Marty Coughlin, who died in 2000 at the age of 56, was an advocate for community issues, especially improving transportation in and around East Boston. His idea to re-route Logan Airport’s commercial traffic was embraced by many elected officials, and other civic leaders who realized the effects of road congestion to the Day Square neighborhood, especially Neptune Road.
“The completion of the bypass road is a fitting tribute to Marty Coughlin, who advocated so strongly for it. I thank Massport for its work on the bypass road, which will take trucks off residential streets, improve air quality and enhance local neighborhoods. I have advocated for this project since taking office and I am happy to celebrate its completion,” said U.S. Rep. Michael E. Capuano, D-Mass.
The two-lane Martin A. Coughlin Bypass Road extends half a mile through an abandoned CSX rail bed in the airport’s North Service Area Roadway Corridor. The northern end of the bypass splits with northbound traffic intersecting Chelsea Street via a former rail spur slightly north of Beck Street. Southbound traffic enters the bypass roadway at Beck Street. The road is restricted to airport and other commercial traffic including taxis, trucks, MBTA buses and Massport employee shuttle buses serving a 1,500 space garage in Chelsea.
Massport estimates a two-thirds reduction in bus and truck traffic on Neptune Road and a 54% reduction in traffic on Chelsea Street. The bypass road will also improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions such as volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen.
“The opening of the Marty Coughlin bypass road is an exciting day for our community, as it is expected to bring significant improvements to the air quality and flow of traffic in the heart of East Boston,” said State Senator Anthony Petruccelli, D-East Boston.
Construction of Martin A. Coughlin Bypass Road began in August 2011, and took 15 months to complete. The project created 46 construction jobs.
“Our family is overjoyed that Marty’s idea for a bypass road has become a reality,” said Coughlin’s sister, Mary Coughlin Johnston. “The road came about because Massport, community activists and our political representatives came together keeping the neighborhood of East Boston in mind.”
Boston Logan, 15 minutes from the intersection of Route 128 and I-90 and five minutes from downtown Boston, serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to 73 domestic and 32 international destinations and in 2011 handled 28.9 million passengers. Boston Logan is the Air Line Pilot Association’s Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport spent $4.5 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, public transportation access, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has been transformed into a world-class 21st Century facility. The airport generates $7 billion in total economic impact each year.
The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional Airport. Massport is a financially self-sustaining public authority whose premier transportation facilities generate more than $8 billion annually, and enhance and enable economic growth and vitality in New England. No state tax dollars are used to fund operations or capital improvements at Massport facilities.