Boston Says So Long to the Casey Overpass, a 1950s Highway Relic

The image shows plans for the at-grade street that will replace the overpass. Image: Arborwaymatters via MassDOT
The Casey Overpass will be replaced with an at-grade street. Image: Arborwaymatters via MassDOT

This month, Boston is demolishing a monument to 1950s-era car infrastructure: The Casey Overpass, a short elevated road built in 1955 to whisk drivers over the Forest Hills MBTA station in Jamaica Plain without encountering any pesky things like intersections or pedestrians.

The last car drove over the decrepit 1,600-foot-long structure just a few days ago, and construction crews have begun taking it apart. Soon the residents of Forest Hills will say goodbye forever to the hulking eyesore blighting their neighborhood.

The Casey Overpass had gotten so ? that it was down to just two extremely potholed lanes. Photo: Arborwaymatters
The lovely view beneath the Casey Overpass. Photo: Arborwaymatters

In its place, the state will construct an at-grade street with three lanes in each direction and a protected bike lane.

The road removal encountered its share of resistance along the way, including from a local bike shop owner, but the arguments for the teardown won out.

Removing the overpass will enable the creation of a more walkable street grid and reintegrate the neighborhood with Boston’s beloved “Emerald Necklace,” the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park system.

Tearing down the overpass also saved a lot of money compared to rebuilding it — about $21 million, according to the Boston Globe.

  • neroden

    Unfortunately, “three lanes in each direction” sounds like a death trap. It may be cheaper but it’ll probably be even more of a pedestrian barrier than the overpass. What about a road diet?

  • Charlie

    Many neighbors and advocates pushed for no more than two through lanes in each direction. Unfortunately, there were enough other citizens who were very vocal about their fears of traffic congestion from losing the overpass that MassDOT included enough lanes so that they could guarantee it would handle all the traffic the overpass did (plus more.)

  • LuisD

    Education could make a difference. By teaching residents about induced demand and other facts about transportation planning, you would think that residents would make more informed decisions. Unfortunately, you’ve got to fight against decades of car culture and a strong pro-car anti-everything-else bias… it’s not easy.

  • Mark Tedrow

    To be fair, there are two through lanes and two right turn lanes in each direction. The turn lanes just happen to extend back to the previous intersections. Traffic models, by the traffic engineer, showed queue lengths extending too far to shorten the queue lanes (according to the design professionals).
    Since there is no parking or drop off areas near the intersections, the overall road width is the same as many other streets in Boston.

  • neroden

    OK, if one of the lanes each way is a right turn lane rather than a through lane, it isn’t so bad. However, in similar situations it’s traditional for the the right turn lane to start a carlength after the intersection, so that there are only 5 lanes (2 out, 3 in) at the intersection point.


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