SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

August 21, 2013

State favors waiver for Brimbal Ave. project; groups protest, say environmental study needed

(Continued)

Mayor Bill Scanlon said compiling an environmental impact report would have delayed the project “significantly.” The project, he said, will not harm the environment.

“The important thing is that the state feels that way,” he said.

The environmental waiver applies only to the first phase of the Brimbal Avenue project, which will be done by the city. The second and much larger phase, which has yet to be funded, would be done by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and would require an environmental impact report.

The second phase involves building a bridge over Route 128 between Brimbal Avenue and Dunham Road. Scanlon said the changes, in addition to improving traffic flow and safety, will open up land to development and create as many as 7,500 jobs.

Scanlon is not running for re-election and will leave office at the end of the year. He has said that he would offer his services to the next mayor to help complete the Brimbal Avenue project.

In his ruling in favor of an environmental waiver for Phase One, Sullivan said the city and state have already proposed measures to avoid or minimize environmental impacts. Any other issues can be resolved during the state and local permitting process, he said.

But in her letter to the state, the Norwood Pond Coalition’s attorney said the project involves building on part of an old landfill on Brimbal Avenue that contains hazardous waste such as lead and PCBs. Digging up the landfill could result in “odors, potential leaching to groundwater and development of sink holes after recapping,” the letter said.

The letter also said the city fails to fully address concerns about noise created by an increase in traffic that will result from new development, including the planned shopping plaza.

Member Pam Kampersal said the Norwood Pond Coalition formed 10 years ago when the city first announced plans to build the Route 128 overpass.

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