SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 29, 2014

Brimbal plans face new concern

Costly landfill obstacle could sink land swap, new connector road

(Continued)

The revelation about the stability of the connector road adds another element to an already confusing issue facing voters with the Feb. 8 ballot question.

Proponents of a “yes” vote have said a “no” vote will cause the city to lose the $5 million state grant it has been awarded to do the interchange project. Cahill said that is “not accurate.”

Cahill said officials in the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, which awarded the grant, believe the road improvements will spark economic development and have said the grant money is not dependent on any one project.

Cahill said the city will receive the $5 million as long as it can propose a “buildable road,” whether it is on CEA Group’s land or the state’s land.

The new connector road, wherever it is located, would have roundabouts on both ends that would be designed to eliminate difficult left-hand turns from Route 128 onto the connector road at exit 19 and from the connector road onto Brimbal Avenue. The project would also include widening a section of Brimbal Avenue.

Neighbors opposed to the project say the shopping plaza will create too much additional traffic and that the road redesign lacked public input. Proponents say the redesign will improve traffic flow and trigger economic development that will benefit the city.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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