About 70 people gathered at a Mattapan public meeting on Monday to get an overview of a now-imminent public works project aimed at improving safety and flow at the notoriously dangerous intersection of Morton Street and Gallivan Boulevard.
Construction on the $3.5 million project that has been in the planning phase for several years is scheduled to start next Monday (May 20) and be completed by June of next year.
“At the end of the day, we have $3.5 million that is being spent by the state to make our most dangerous intersection safe,” said state Rep. Daniel R. Cullinane, in addressing residents who had gathered for the briefing inside the Harbor Health Services facility on Morton Street.
Officials from MassDOT — the state agency that will oversee the project—gave a Powerpoint presentation, followed by questions and answers.
The project’s planners goal was to improve safety at the hazardous crossing. The results: A new traffic signal controlling traffic at the site; exclusive left turn lanes and a protected turning phase along Route 203 at the West Selden intersection; rebuilt sidewalks; and new bike lanes between West Selden and Gallivan Boulevard.
Additionally, officials said, residents can expect to have MBTA bus stop schedules revised over period of time, and maybe see alternative pedestrian walkways.
According to the officials, lane closures will be necessary during parts of the project. But the restrictions will not be in place during the morning or evening rush hours (6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.). One travel lane in each direction will be left open at all times, officials said, adding that work hours will mainly be confined to the period between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. with some utility work done at night.
“I think this project needed to happen,” said Linda Cabral, a Mattapan resident who attended the meeting. “Those in this community go through that intersection all the time and it’s very hard to determine what incoming traffic is doing.”
Sonya Huggins, who lives on Gallivan Boulevard, said that she and her neighbors have been asking for safety improvements to the perilous crossroads for two decades. “We’ll be outside in our yards talking and we’ll see the cars speeding and we cringe,” said Huggins, who said she has personally seen accidents, and pedestrians being struck. She and other residents said they also want to see better enforcement of the speed limit along the stretch of road.
Police officials at the meeting took some questions from attendees and told residents that any double parking or speeding will not be tolerated.
MassDOT officials told the gathering that Donny Dailey, of the agency’s government and community affairs office, can be reached for questions about the project at 617-945-4272 or at Donny.Dailey2@dot.state.ma.us. Anothyer contact, Kethia Nazaire Allen, of the office of community engagement, can be reached at 857-368-9019 or at Kethia.Allen@state.ma.us.