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Support Needed for 93/95 Interchange in Canton

The centerpiece of Governor Deval Patrick's budget proposal was a commitment to investing in the state's transportation infrastructure. This included specific funding for many long-awaited transportation projects like the Route 93/95 Interchanges in Canton and Woburn and the SouthCoast Commuter Rail. The legislature agreed with the notion of investing in transportation as a priority for the state, but at a much smaller price tag. In fact, just last week they approved a plan that the Governor has already promised to veto.

The Chamber was pleased to learn that the Route 93/95 Interchange in Canton is a priority project for the Governor and MassDOT. At a recent meeting of the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) MassDOT announced that they wanted to include the interchange project in the funding time-band of 2014-2017, moving it up from 2021.

The original interchange came about when the state abandoned the plan to continue Route 95 through Boston decades ago. Since then, the state rebuilt the train station and parking garage in Westwood with the promise that the interchange would be rebuilt by 2006. We're still waiting.

This is a significant project for our region and has been a priority of the Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce for several years. As you may be aware, the Town of Westwood approved the University Station (formerly Westwood Station) project last month, and it is ready to go. With 500,000 square feet of office, retail and housing soon to be built there, the timing of the interchange project is critical. It will include a new northbound off-ramp from Route 95 North, which will allow traffic to exit to Dedham Street in Canton and access University Station. Additionally, there will be a fourth travel lane between Neponset Street in Norwood and Route 128 leading to a reconstructed interchange that will allow for much smoother traffic flow onto Route 128. This will go a long way toward easing congestion, which currently spills over onto secondary roads in Canton, Dedham, Norwood, Westwood and Walpole during morning and evening commutes. It will also have environmental benefits as the amount of emissions from cars sitting in traffic will be reduced, and more than 30 acres of land will be transferred back to open space at the base of the Blue Hills.

Furthermore, improvements to the configuration of the interchange will result in a much safer roadway, particularly for trucks trying (sometimes unsuccessfully) to make the tight turns on the off-ramps.

The proposal by MassDOT to include the funding of this project in the 2014-2017 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is currently out for public comment. The Chamber has reached out to area public officials and businesses asking them to voice their support for their project by submitting comment letters and/or speaking in favor of the project at two upcoming public meetings on July 11th and 25th. Additional information about these meetings and the proposed project can be found at http://www.ctps.org.

I encourage you to consider adding your voice of support as well for this project, which will have significant benefits for our entire region. Written comment can be submitted by July 23rd to:

Boston Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization
State Transportation Building
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116