Lawmakers push for overhaul at Morton-Gallivan intersection

The intersection at Gallivan Boulevard and Morton Street could undergo a study and an overhaul, with members of the State House delegation pushing for the area to get re-done.

"Car accidents happen there almost every day," said Danny Hardaway, president of the Morton Street Chamber of Commerce and owner of the Final Touch With Class boutique.

Pedestrians cross at their own peril, Hardaway said.

"The most dangerous intersection in that district, I would say," said state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, a sentiment echoed by state Sen. Jack Hart.

A $1.3 billion borrowing bill for transportation projects includes several hundreds of thousands of dollars for projects in Dorchester and Mattapan and is currently getting hashed out by a conference committee of House and Senate members, after receiving approval from the Senate last week.

Movement is expected on the earmark-filled bill (S 2790) before the end of the month, when lawmakers adjourn for the rest of the year. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) declined to comment, noting that the bill has yet to pass into law.

Local lawmakers, along with officials from the city and DCR and U.S. Congressman Michael Capuano's office, took a tour of the Morton St. area last week, including the intersection, as part of efforts to promote the street and a burgeoning retail community. The infamous intersection has residential homes on one side and a hardware store on the other, with traffic lights on a strip in the middle.

The bill, originally filed by Gov. Deval Patrick and then tagged with hundreds of earmarks by lawmakers seeking money for projects in their districts, includes $750,000 for signalization at the intersection.

The bill also carries $100,000 for Columbia Road, which is currently undergoing construction; $1 million for a sound barrier along Route 93 South in the section that runs through Dorchester; $700,000 for design and construction of Kosciuszko Circle, an area that has become the focus of the Columbia Master Plan task force; $200,000 for repairs along Gallivan Boulevard; and money for fixes to Adams Street and Granite Avenue.

"We all know our transportation infrastructure around the Commonwealth has suffered over the years," Hart said.

A legislatively-mandated commission issued a report last year pegging a funding gap for transportation structures at around $20 billion over the next 20 years. The bill, along with a $3 billion bridge repair borrowing bill, aims to make a dent in the gap.