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Should 1950s-Era Overpasses Come Down?

The state is deciding if other Boston neighborhoods will get the treatment Jamaica Plain is receiving — tearing down 1950s-era overpasses in favor of surface roads.

Urban planners no longer love the idea of putting elevated roadways through urban centers.

Even so, the state plans to spend millions of dollars shoring up two such overpasses — , which carries the McGrath Highway, and the Bowker Overpass in Back Bay and Kenmore Square, which carries Storrow drive into Fenway — while they decide whether to tear them down and replace them with surface roads.

Somerville Patch asked in a poll "Should McGrath Highway be torn down?" and . It's a crumbling, dangerous curse on Somerville. One reader, Alex, called it the "Brown Monster" and said, "McGrath Highway is to East Somerville what the Berlin Wall was to East Berlin. Tear down this highway!"

Also this summer, Somerville Patch asked residents to weigh in on what they thought were the worst intersections in Somerville, and .

Globe transportation reporter Eric Moskowitz recently surveyed urban planners, politicians and highway officials on the costs versus benefits of elevated roadways. 

Many agreed that all eyes are watching the Casey Overpass project in JP, where one such 1950s-era overpass is being razed and replaced with surface roads. If that design moves traffic and people smoothly, it could pave the way for the demise of the McCarthy and Bowker overpasses.

Here is the Globe's full story (May require subscription to read full article.)

AHM August 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM
I agree it's ugly but to take it down is unrealistic. It has made it more tolerable than the way it was before. We would need to go back to the amount of vehicles that were on the roads in the 40's to make tearing it down work at all. I guess only those of us who were then would know. Either way it's a lose lose situation.
MJ August 28, 2012 at 12:34 AM
It maybe ugly but I think traffic in the area would become unbearable if it was taken down. Perhaps a nicer design is called for.
Lucas Rogers August 28, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Tear it town.
Jonah Petri August 28, 2012 at 01:26 PM
In the 40s there was no superhighway — interstate 93 — just a few blocks away. McGrath is superfluous.
Michael J Wade August 28, 2012 at 03:06 PM
In the 40's the population was 25,000 more than it is now.

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