BEVERLY — The planned location of a new Brimbal Avenue connector road is now in doubt due to concerns about the “structural integrity” of building a road on a former landfill, Mayor Mike Cahill said yesterday.
The concerns have led engineers to develop an alternative design to build a new road on the site of the current connector road, he said.
Cahill revealed the potential key change in the project, while at the same time urging residents to vote “yes” in the Feb. 8 special election at Beverly High School.
A “yes” vote would uphold a City Council decision to rezone a parcel of land on Brimbal Avenue, paving the way for a developer to build a $20 million shopping plaza with a Whole Foods Market.
The rezoning would trigger a swap of adjacent parcels of land between the state and the developer, CEA Group. The swap would allow the city to build a new connector road on the landfill site and CEA Group to build the plaza on the site of the current road.
Neither the rezoning nor the special election would be necessary if the connector road cannot be built on the landfill. But Cahill said residents should still vote “yes” to keep the city’s options open.
“It’s very important that we continue to work with both potential designs,” he said.
Engineers have said moving the connector road — the road that connects Sohier Road and Brimbal Avenue at Exit 19 off Route 128 — is a key to the project. It would allow more room for traffic that backs up onto the highway.
But Cahill said yesterday that state officials have concerns about the “structural integrity” of building a road on the former landfill and that neither the state nor the city will spend the money to remove the unstable material from the site.