TONIGHT: State officials to unveil latest plans for Morton-Gallivan re-design

One of the neighborhood’s most perilous traffic crosshairs— the intersection of Morton Street and Gallivan Boulevard— will be redesigned and rebuilt over the next two years as state engineers take aim at improving safety and aesthetics along a key stretch of Route 203.

The public has been invited to get a detailed explanation of the $3.2 million project at a meeting set for Thurs., Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Mildred Avenue School auditorium, 5 Mildred Ave., Mattapan.

According to the state’s Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the intersection was the scene of 20 crashes over a three-year period between 2012-2014. Nine of the 20 recorded incidents left people with injuries at the busy crossroads in front of the Boston Fire Dept. Engine 16 firehouse and just one block from the Charles H. Taylor Elementary School.

The Legislature set the project in motion in 2010 when it secured $750,000 to engineer the redesign.

Last year, lawmakers set aside the $3.2 million to fund the actual work. Officials now expect that the project will go out to bid this year and construction will start in the spring of 2018.

Officials intend to install new signals and median strips that will “emphasize Route 203 as the primary movement,” according to a MassDOT document obtained by the Reporter. A turning lane will be added for eastbound Morton Street traffic to remain on that roadway while left turns from Gallivan to Woodmere Street and eastbound Morton will be prohibited.

Improvements will also be made to the intersection of Morton and West Selden streets, where a new traffic signal will be installed, providing a protected left turn lane for Morton Street traffic. Other exclusive left turn lanes will be set up along Morton.

Bicycle lanes will also be added from West Selden Street to Gallivan, which will necessitate the elimination of the westbound parking lane between Selden and Fairmount streets. The parking lane along eastbound Morton Street will remain in place under the current plan.

Next Thursday’s meeting will deal in part with “right of way” takings from individual abutters. State officials say some 30 takings will be needed to achieve the goals of the project. The time frame for actually starting the work will depend— in part— on how soon state officials can secure those rights of way. A more solid start date will likely be set after Thursday’s meeting.