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May 10, 2014

State rejects road through landfill in Beverly

Mayor says city will build Brimbal connector on current location

BEVERLY — The controversial plan to build a Brimbal Avenue connector road through a former landfill has been rejected by the state, leaving the city with no alternative but to build the new road in its current location.

In a letter to Mayor Mike Cahill and developer Steven Cohen, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation said building the road through the landfill would take longer, cost more money, and leave the long-term stability of the road at risk.

"(T)he multiple risks associated with the relocation of the Connector Road are not commensurate with any potential benefit to the public," wrote Frank DePaola, an administrator with the state Highway Department.

Read the DOT's letter about the Brimbal connector road.

In response, Cahill said the city will proceed with plans to build the new connector road along the alignment of the existing roadway. He said the city will work with the state to complete the design and permitting of the new roadway by October, in time to secure a $5 million economic development grant to pay for it.

"My No. 1 responsibility is to deliver a fully designed and permitted road this fall to the Secretary of Economic Development so we can secure the funding," Cahill said.

Read Cahill's response to the DOT's letter.

The state's rejection of the landfill road plan negates the need for a proposed land swap between the state and Cohen's CEA Group, which owns the former landfill. The swap would have allowed the connector road to be built 500 feet from its current location, a move that officials originally said would create a better traffic flow off of Route 128.

The land transfer would have also given CEA Group a larger piece of land to build a proposed shopping plaza anchored by a Whole Foods Market.

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