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Old 11-11-2013, 01:04 PM   #1
davem
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Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

So while the Tobin won't likely be replaced for decades to come, a new routing for its replacement has come up in other threads, so I thought a dedicated topic would be suitable.

My Ideas

Option 1:
Reroute along the Eastern Railroad, tying into I93 above Sullivan Square
Pros: Route goes through what will likely be industrial land for the forseable future, along an existing railroad right of way.
Cons: puts a large interchange right near Sullivan Square, where work is ongoing to do just the opposite. Almost double the length of new highway construction as the other options. Would likely have to be a viaduct or have many land takings.

Option 2:
Reroute along the abandoned leg of the grand junction, tying into I-90 at Wood Island
Pros: Small amount of new highway construction, makes better use of the Ted and I-90 extension. I-90 designation could be extended to use federal money for the project. Tank farm could be used for interchange with 1A
Cons: Tunnel would be expensive, viaduct would seperate Chelsea worse than the current alignment does. existing railroad ROW is too narrow, would require some residential/commercial takings.

Option 3:
Reroute along RT 16 / Mill Creek, tying into RT-1A near Suffolk Downs.
Pros: Route along (mostly) existing highway right of way. Plenty of land. Interchange with 1A could be over the tank farms west of Suffolk Downs. Makes use of the Ted and I-90 extension. I-90 designation could be extended to this point to use federal money. All of RT-1 removed from Chelsea.
Cons: Environmental impact of putting another highway through wetlands may be substantial.

Option 4:
Reroute on / north of Route 60, along the marsh, tying into Route 60 just after the Rotary.
Pros: Makes use of the Ted / I-90 infastructure, as above. I-90 designation could be extended to here to make use of federal funds.
Cons: Upgrading of Route 60 through Revere likely doed more harm than good, as it would probably be elevated, while the existing RT-1 ROW is in a cut. Significant wetlands impact. Massive, expensive reconstruction of RT-60 through Revere.


I used to strongly favor Option 1 (I believe my own creation), however after typing all that I believe Option 3 would be the "preferred alternative". As far as I can tell RT-1 is not that large an obstacle north of RT-16, as it is below grade, has frequent overpasses, and is adjacent to cemeteries half the time. As part of the reconstruction RT-16 could also be fixed through Revere and Chelsea , using some of the old RT-1 ROW. Long term, it might be worth it to extend the I-90 designation all the way up to the interchange with 128, somewhat fixing the errors of canceling the highway projects way back when. RT-1 inside of 128 is more "interstate-like" than any of the other MA Routes, so formalizing that would do no more harm then getting federal dollars to maintain it.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:52 PM   #2
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by davem View Post
So while the Tobin won't likely be replaced for decades to come, a new routing for its replacement has come up in other threads, so I thought a dedicated topic would be suitable.

My Ideas

Option 1:
Reroute along the Eastern Railroad, tying into I93 above Sullivan Square
Pros: Route goes through what will likely be industrial land for the forseable future, along an existing railroad right of way.
Cons: puts a large interchange right near Sullivan Square, where work is ongoing to do just the opposite. Almost double the length of new highway construction as the other options. Would likely have to be a viaduct or have many land takings.

Option 2:
Reroute along the abandoned leg of the grand junction, tying into I-90 at Wood Island
Pros: Small amount of new highway construction, makes better use of the Ted and I-90 extension. I-90 designation could be extended to use federal money for the project. Tank farm could be used for interchange with 1A
Cons: Tunnel would be expensive, viaduct would seperate Chelsea worse than the current alignment does. existing railroad ROW is too narrow, would require some residential/commercial takings.

Option 3:
Reroute along RT 16 / Mill Creek, tying into RT-1A near Suffolk Downs.
Pros: Route along (mostly) existing highway right of way. Plenty of land. Interchange with 1A could be over the tank farms west of Suffolk Downs. Makes use of the Ted and I-90 extension. I-90 designation could be extended to this point to use federal money. All of RT-1 removed from Chelsea.
Cons: Environmental impact of putting another highway through wetlands may be substantial.

Option 4:
Reroute on / north of Route 60, along the marsh, tying into Route 60 just after the Rotary.
Pros: Makes use of the Ted / I-90 infastructure, as above. I-90 designation could be extended to here to make use of federal funds.
Cons: Upgrading of Route 60 through Revere likely doed more harm than good, as it would probably be elevated, while the existing RT-1 ROW is in a cut. Significant wetlands impact. Massive, expensive reconstruction of RT-60 through Revere.


I used to strongly favor Option 1 (I believe my own creation), however after typing all that I believe Option 3 would be the "preferred alternative". As far as I can tell RT-1 is not that large an obstacle north of RT-16, as it is below grade, has frequent overpasses, and is adjacent to cemeteries half the time. As part of the reconstruction RT-16 could also be fixed through Revere and Chelsea , using some of the old RT-1 ROW. Long term, it might be worth it to extend the I-90 designation all the way up to the interchange with 128, somewhat fixing the errors of canceling the highway projects way back when. RT-1 inside of 128 is more "interstate-like" than any of the other MA Routes, so formalizing that would do no more harm then getting federal dollars to maintain it.

Thoughts?
I appreciate your forward thinking, and do think that US 1 is due for some extra love north of the Tobin. But I look at these options and say they seem a better way to Bus/HOV/Bike through and move more people per square foot of pavement.

I think I come down in favor of making the Tobin last for as loooong as possible and spending the $ in the meantime on mass-transit modes. Such as the politically-impossible gesture of making an HOV lane on the existing bridge that could increase bus reliablity from Chelsea, Revere & Lynn--or using any of your replacement alignments for BRT/HOV/Bike sorts of things.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:52 PM   #3
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

The Grand Junction is a no-go - MassDOT has already gone very public with plans to reuse that section for a Silver Line busway and greenway/linear park. Otherwise, some very interesting plans. Decking over the very active Eastern Route might also very difficult.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:40 PM   #4
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by davem View Post
So while the Tobin won't likely be replaced for decades to come, a new routing for its replacement has come up in other threads, so I thought a dedicated topic would be suitable.

My Ideas

Option 1:
Reroute along the Eastern Railroad, tying into I93 above Sullivan Square
Pros: Route goes through what will likely be industrial land for the forseable future, along an existing railroad right of way.
Cons: puts a large interchange right near Sullivan Square, where work is ongoing to do just the opposite. Almost double the length of new highway construction as the other options. Would likely have to be a viaduct or have many land takings.

=

I used to strongly favor Option 1 (I believe my own creation), however after typing all that I believe Option 3 would be the "preferred alternative". As far as I can tell RT-1 is not that large an obstacle north of RT-16, as it is below grade, has frequent overpasses, and is adjacent to cemeteries half the time. As part of the reconstruction RT-16 could also be fixed through Revere and Chelsea , using some of the old RT-1 ROW. Long term, it might be worth it to extend the I-90 designation all the way up to the interchange with 128, somewhat fixing the errors of canceling the highway projects way back when. RT-1 inside of 128 is more "interstate-like" than any of the other MA Routes, so formalizing that would do no more harm then getting federal dollars to maintain it.

Thoughts?
Here's a link to my design of your Option 1, which is the option I most favor. It has a lot of advantages. The relocated NE EX\xpwy would take a lot of traffic off of Route 16 between Rte. 99 and the current NE Expwy interchange, allowing Rte 16 to be downsized to a narrower boulevard with wide sidewalks, trees and bike lanes.
https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid...40066,0.084543

The interchange at Sullivan wouldn't have to be massive. The elevated 93 would remain in place, and expanded slightly to the east for the approaches and connectors for the new Tobin Bridge. One of the three curving ramps at City Square could be removed. Remaining would be the two curved ramps that connect the existing Tobin bridge to I-93, but they would be modified to terminate at the surface at Rutherford Ave/City Square. The existing tunnel under City Square would be converted to a light rail line subway and station for a line to Chelsea on the ROW of the existing Tobin Bridge (to be demolished), continuing north on the to-be-abandoned NR Expwy through Chelsea. A new, smaller bridge would built to carry the light rail line and local traffic between Charlestown and Chelsea.

Last edited by Charlie_mta; 11-11-2013 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:12 PM   #5
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

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Originally Posted by Charlie_mta View Post
The existing tunnel under City Square would be converted to a light rail line subway and station for a line to Chelsea on the ROW of the existing Tobin Bridge (to be demolished), continuing north on the to-be-abandoned NR Expwy through Chelsea. A new, smaller bridge would built to carry the light rail line and local traffic between Charlestown and Chelsea.
Any more information out there on this? Seems like a really cool idea, but how would it connect to the green? And would a orange extension be viable instead?
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:25 PM   #6
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

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Originally Posted by cbrett View Post
Any more information out there on this? Seems like a really cool idea, but how would it connect to the green? And would a orange extension be viable instead?
It's an academic discussion anyway since there's no real "information" about this at all. It would presumably tie in with Green just north of Haymarket. The Canal Street Portal is still there sealed up under a parking lot. It would go over the Charlestown Bridge (of course, they'd have to rebuild it with LRV in mind, which they won't) and get onto the Tobin footprint that way.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:34 PM   #7
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

It's a shame that using that portal wouldn't let this new branch go through North Station.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:01 PM   #8
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by cbrett View Post
Any more information out there on this? Seems like a really cool idea, but how would it connect to the green? And would a orange extension be viable instead?


It's just an idea I thought of: if the Tobin were relocated to Sullivan Square, then the tunnel under City Square, and the abandoned Tobin ROW along Chelsea Street, would make a great rail transit corridor to Chelsea. I'm thinking light rail (Green Line) instead of Orange Line, because once it gets to Chelsea, light rail could be a surface line located on the NE Expwy ROW through Chelsea (as the Expwy would be relocated to the west).

For crossing the Charles, I was thinking of a bridge location between the Zakim and the "new" dam. and tying into a Greenway surface light rail line to South Station, connecting into the Silver Line tunnel near Northern Ave.

Last edited by Charlie_mta; 11-11-2013 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:01 AM   #9
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie_mta View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbrett View Post
Any more information out there on this? Seems like a really cool idea, but how would it connect to the green? And would a orange extension be viable instead?


It's just an idea I thought of: if the Tobin were relocated to Sullivan Square, then the tunnel under City Square, and the abandoned Tobin ROW along Chelsea Street, would make a great rail transit corridor to Chelsea. I'm thinking light rail (Green Line) instead of Orange Line, because once it gets to Chelsea, light rail could be a surface line located on the NE Expwy ROW through Chelsea (as the Expwy would be relocated to the west).

For crossing the Charles, I was thinking of a bridge location between the Zakim and the "new" dam. and tying into a Greenway surface light rail line to South Station, connecting into the Silver Line tunnel near Northern Ave.
I don't think you can connect anything to the transitway tunnel from the north.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:39 PM   #10
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

If BLX ever happens one of the tail tracks will be pointing towards Science Park (the other towards Beacon Hill), so I always pictured the old Tobin ROW getting used for that, but in reality it doesn't matter much, pretty much any line could grab up that space was it ever vacated.

Does anyone know the history of RT-1s current routing? It winds around so much through Revere and Chelsea that I assume it must be pieced together. Was Broadway through Everett the original routing?
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:52 PM   #11
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

Interesting idea for the BL, but that would end up with a U shape Eastie-Downtown-Chelsea, which cuts ridership relative to a cross-town through service.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:56 PM   #12
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

I always assumed it was just navigating around the gaps between the big hills in Chelsea and Everett (Powderhorn, Washington, and Fennos).
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:08 PM   #13
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

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I always assumed it was just navigating around the gaps between the big hills in Chelsea and Everett (Powderhorn, Washington, and Fennos).
I've got egg on my face. Staring at a map =/= understanding of topography.


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Interesting idea for the BL, but that would end up with a U shape Eastie-Downtown-Chelsea, which cuts ridership relative to a cross-town through service.
When reading one of the old BL extension north studies (in this case BL to Beverly) they were very adamant that anything coming in north of Point of Pines needs to be express. Trip times would be abysmal and the trains would be packed if not. Their idea was to have it branch off just north of Airport station, running up the abandoned freight line to the eastern route.

So my idea is a "slingshot" using this same concept. Trains would originate in Lynn (or preferably Swampscott), run through Point of Pines and Eastie to downtown as they do now, then loop up through Charlestown, Chelsea and Revere, then through the marsh to Lynn and on to Salem. So it basically works like a local/express service, except on two separate lines. It also has the bonus of giving Lynn double headways, so it could be used to get around as well as get into the city.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:03 PM   #14
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

So you'd have the Blue Line run both the Eastern Route and via Point of Pines? Seems like a lot of build for marginally more ridership.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:57 PM   #15
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

You probably can't build via Point of Pines anyway unless you're fine with land taking. The ROW is compromised.
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:47 PM   #16
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

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You probably can't build via Point of Pines anyway unless you're fine with land taking. The ROW is compromised.
Yep. Too expensive. Although Oak Island is a good possibility for an intermediate stop because the straightest way of getting on-alignment with the Eastern Route is proceeding as-is for another 2/3 mile then cutting across the mostly barren Rent-a-Tool property on 1A. Oak I. was the next proposed stop after Wonderland in the 1945 expansion plan. Considering it would need next to zero parking due to proximity to parking sink Wonderland, it wouldn't be a very expensive stop to add at all. Comparable to some of the less-special intermediates on GLX.

Do Oak I. and a West Lynn/Riverworks TOD-oriented stop after touching down on the Lynn side of the creek and it covers the whole Point of Pines area with 3/4 mile or less walk to a station from either side. Some sidewalk improvements on the 1A bridge and path down to Oak I. on the unencroached remainder of the ROW helps bring those in even closer. And rapid transit to Lynn bus terminal de-gunks every single local route on the North Shore, so grabbing a bus for 3 stops to the next Blue station is no biggie so long as the extension finally lets Lynn Terminal act like a real terminal.


For how much extra it would cost to mitigate around those property lines...possibly even with a short tunnel box section...it's not worth the effort to get it perfect to Point of Pines. Considering the fact that it requires an extra water crossing too vs. just rebuilding Saugus Drawbridge as a 4-track high fixed span...PoP probably adds $250M to the project cost even before the town pols and Revere Beach developers start swooping in for their extra handouts. Then you're looking at 30%+ cost bloat over the Eastern Route routing.

I'll take "good enough" walking access from both ends for the sake of getting this fucking thing done already.
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Old 11-13-2013, 07:02 PM   #17
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

Pretty sure we already have five threads discussing Tobin realignment, but anyway: your best option is #3, in my opinion. Option #1 won't fly with the new Assembly Sq in Somerville, the Lower Broadway efforts in Everett, and the redevelopment of the industrial wastelands in Chelsea. Every one of those cities will fight this. Option #2 is just way too divisive on one of the densest enclaves around. Option #4 has severe impacts on the Rumney Marsh, which already has money pouring into it to keep it alive.

Utilizing the excess 1A/Pike capacity has alot of benefit. And hey, those federal dollars for extending the interstate would be huge.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:08 PM   #18
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Re: Tobin Bridge Relocation/Replacement

With option 3, RT1 could be kept intact as a sort of high line.
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