SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 7, 2013

Brimbal project argued on Hill

No action taken at hearing at Statehouse on land swap

(Continued)

Scanlon fought back against DeAngelis’ statements.

“When people say that this can be solved with a traffic light or two, they are simply making no sense,” he said.

Richard Dinkin, chairman of the Planning Board, also spoke in favor of the bill.

“The opposition, however, was based on sincerely held, but not verifiable, opinion on the subject about what would happen with the traffic should the project occur,” he said. He said traffic studies show otherwise.

“More important is the opportunity to convert an extremely dangerous interchange between a residential street and a state highway into an extremely safe interchange,” Dinkin said.

The entire Brimbal Avenue project is a $25 million proposal to revamp the interchanges around Brimbal Avenue and Route 128 in order to improve traffic flow and safety and also open up land for development on both sides of the highway.

The city has applied for $5 million in state funding for the first phase of the project. That work cannot begin unless the land swap takes place.

Public hearings on the project and shopping plaza drew hundreds of people.

Parisella and Lovely spoke only briefly at the hearing yesterday. Parisella said engineers for the project asked for the land swap in order to improve traffic.

“I live in that neighborhood and have experienced the traffic difficulties every day,” he said.

Steven Cohen, who owns the land the city is looking to swap, said it is important to understand the city and Massachusetts Department of Transportation are proposing the swap. The changes will make dramatic improvements in traffic flow and safety at that location, he said.

“The sole purpose is to improve configuration of the interchange,” he said. “The city and MassDOT simply want to improve traffic safety and traffic flow and this intersection.”

He said the Department of Environmental Protection has granted a permit for the land to be developed.

Scanlon strongly argued for the joint committee to approve the project.

“This is a good project for the entire North Shore region from the viewpoints of safety, conservation of time and resources, and badly needed economic development,” he said.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.

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