Mayoral Candidate John Connolly Pushing for Use of the Marty Coughlin Bypass Road

August 28, 2013
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Mayoral Candidate John Connolly is advocating for the Marty Coughlin Bypass Road to be open to East Boston residents. This week Connolly sent a letter to Massport CEO Thomas Glynn urging the Port Authority to open the road that opened less than a year ago so Eastie motorists can enjoy its quick access to and from Chelsea without having to navigate Day Square.

“Opening up the bypass road to residents of East Boston is long overdue,” Connolly told the East Boston Times. “I hope that Massport will take immediate action to alleviate traffic in Day Square and across the neighborhood.”

In his letter to Glynn Connolly writes that after months of waiting, it is clear that the roadway should be open to the general public effective immediately.

“As you know, the Coughlin Bypass Road was opened in November of 2012 with the goal of alleviating Logan Airport-based traffic,” said Connolly. “Despite the Bypass Road being completed over ten months ago, passage on the road is currently limited to certain commercial vehicles.  Residents of East Boston have been waiting and continue to wait for the full use of this roadway to ease the significant traffic congestion on Neptune Road and around Day Square.”

Connolly said he joins a ‘chorus’ of current and former elected officials who have done yeoman’s work on this crucial infrastructure project.

“I strongly urge Massport to lift the restriction on passenger vehicles and allow this route to be used for the betterment of the neighborhood,” he writes.

John Vitagliano, who advocated for the late Marty Coughlin’s vision of a bypass road to alleviate the daily gridlock in Day Square caused by Logan Airport related traffic for over a decade, said traffic congestion on Bennington Street has continued to escalate, routinely stretching as far as Moore Street during the morning rush hour.

“However Massport has refused to allow the bypass road to be accessed by  passenger vehicles, restricting its use to a limited number of commercial vehicles,” said Vitagliano. “The time has come for Massport to recognize the adverse environmental consequences of its activities on East Boston stemming from its ground traffic impacts on the Day Square area and commit to a major traffic remediation program, starting by opening up the Martin Coughlin Bypass Road to full traffic immediately.”

Nearly four decades after longtime Eastie activist, the late Coughlin came up with the idea for a bypass road to remove Logan Airport related traffic from residential streets, Massport opened the $23.5 million road named in his honor last November. Coughlin died in 2000 at the age of 56.

Vitagliano resurrected Coughlin’s vision in the late 1990s. In 1996 Vitagliano was standing in the middle of the service road at Logan Airport trying to figure out a way to bring the Coughlin’s idea of alleviating the daily gridlock occurring in Day Square, especially Neptune Road, to fruition.

Vitagliano thought back to 1972 when Coughlin had the vision of diverting airport traffic consisting of cabs, buses and 18-wheel trucks on a bypass road under Day Square using the Conrail right-of-way, an old railroad route that stretched through the neighborhood.

In the early 2000s Vitagliano began lobbying state and federal officials to get funding for the project.

As Coughlin envisioned in the early 1970s, the road runs along an abandoned rail corridor between Frankfort Street and Lovell Street. The northern end of the bypass runs about one-half mile in length and splits with northbound traffic intersecting Chelsea Street via a former rail spur slightly north of Beck Street. Southbound traffic enters the bypass roadway at Beck Street.

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