Changes that will affect traffic flow in the neighborhood are coming to the Landmark Center area intersection starting March 1st, through the beginning of the $92 million Muddy River Restoration Project.
As part of Phase One of the project:
- Traffic on Brookline Avenue between Fenway and Park Drive will be one-way only headed inbound.
- Traffic coming down Brookline Avenue or Boylston Street outbound that wants to continue down Brookline Avenue to the medical center will need to travel around the rotary between Brookline Avenue, the Riverway and along Fenway.
- New traffic signals will be installed to ease the congestion that occurs when traffic traveling down Park Drive from Brookline tries to merge with traffic exiting the Riverway. [See the attached .pdf and video for a visual explanation.]
These traffic changes will facilitate the installation of a large pipe, known as a culvert, under the Riverway and under Brookline avenue roadways, to allow for water flow under both roads.
Once the project is completed, which will take until about the fall of 2015, according to Mike Keegan, project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, the entire intersection and park will look very different from how it does today.
In the area known as the old Sears parking lot, the expanse of grass in between the Riverway and Brookline Ave, a portion of the muddy river now buried underground will be exposed, a process called daylighting. Several other areas of the muddy river will be daylighted, all the way from the Riverway down to Ave Louis Pasteur. And as the traffic patterns change in the area, the current "jughead" intersection that motorists must use to turn left onto Park Drive from the Riverway will turn from roadway into river.
In order to make way for the construction and the daylighting of the Muddy River, about 200 trees will need to be taken down, according to Keegan.
"Some are very nice trees, but they have to be removed for the daylighting efforts," he said.
In return, the project will plant approximately 200 trees, a mix of oaks, maple and tupelo trees. The project's plans also call for planting planting 11,508 small medium and large shrubs that represent 22 species in the area.
Phase Two of the project will include dredging the river to remove metals from sediment and removing a particular type of reed plant, the phragmites, from the enviornment. A local group of residents is opposed to cutting down the trees and eradicating the phragmites.
Boston, Brookline, state, federal and private funding for the project totals $92 million, with the first Phase 1 of the project coming in at $31 million.
You can see the full list of Muddy River Project construction activities from now through the end of March here.