SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

September 13, 2013

Scanlon: Brimbal Avenue project would benefit Beverly

(Continued)

The state of Massachusetts is very close to awarding the city of Beverly some $5 million to make significant roadway improvements to the Brimbal Avenue/Route 128 interchange. Today, the interchange is substandard and unsafe. All left turns in the current configuration received an “F” Level of Service rating. Traffic problems are real. It can take several minutes or longer to drive through the area.

CEA Group currently owns a 6.5 acre parcel of land in the area appropriately zoned to allow them to develop a $20 million project they have proposed. But in order for the most effective and efficient traffic improvements to be made, a transfer of land between the State and CEA Group is required.

The proposal on the table calls for moving the present connector road between Sohier and Brimbal, on a parallel course, some 400 feet farther from Route 128. The land on which the new connector road would be located is currently owned by CEA Group. The state would transfer to CEA Group a parcel that includes the current connector and in turn CEA Group would transfer land to the state on which to locate the new connector. The current CEA parcel is zoned as IR (Industrial Restricted) Overlay. The state-owned parcel is zoned as IR (Industrial Restricted). So that all of CEA’s parcel, after the land transfer, would be zoned IR Overlay, a zoning change from IR to IR Overlay is needed for the state-owned parcel. Those land transfers and that zoning change would allow the Phase One project to proceed utilizing $5 million from the state for roadway improvements.

Absent the land transfer, there are no roadway improvements and no $5 million grant. If there is no land transfer, CEA Group has stated that it will still seek to develop its current appropriately zoned parcel.

Let’s look at the traffic implications of the project.

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