Public Hearings: Proposed Hazardous Material Route

Public Hearings will be held by MassDOT, as the state routing agency, to discuss the I-93/I-95 Non-Radioactive Hazardous Material through routing designation proposed by the City of Boston.
The four hearings are scheduled as follows:

  • Boston- Tuesday, August 23, 6:30-8:30pm, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, 2nd Floor
  • Quincy- Wednesday, August 24, 6:30-8:30pm, Thomas Crane Public Library, 40 Washington Street
  • Waltham- Tuesday, August 30, 6:30-8:30pm, Clark Government Center, Main Auditorium, 119 School Street
  • Stoneham- Thursday, September 1, 6:30-8:30pm, Stoneham Town Hall Auditorium, 35 Central Street

The purpose of these hearings is to provide the public with the opportunity to provide testimony and comments regarding the City of Boston’s routing analysis and proposed Non-Radioactive Hazardous Material through routing designation along I-93/I-95. All views and comments made at the hearing will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible.  MassDOT and City of Boston representatives will be present to discuss the proposed route and answer questions. Additional information, including the City of Boston routing evaluation, is available on the MassDOT website.

Under the proposed routing designation, the City of Boston would prohibit the use of City streets for the “through” transportation of Non-Radioactive Hazardous Material where there is neither a point of origin nor destination within the City of Boston. The proposal would designate I-93/I-95 as the prescribed through route over which such Non-Radioactive Hazardous Material approaching the City of Boston is to be transported. Within Boston, only shipments to destinations/points of origin located within the City would be permissible, provided the motor carrier applies for and receives a permit from the City.

Written views received by MassDOT subsequent to the date of this notice and up to five (5) days prior to a respective hearing date shall be displayed for public inspection and copying at the applicable hearings listed above.

Written statements and other exhibits in place of, or in addition to, oral statements made at the Public Hearings regarding the proposed undertaking are to be submitted to:

Thomas F. Broderick, P.E., Acting Chief Engineer, MassDOT, 10 Park Plaza, Suite 4160, Boston, MA 02116, ATTN: BOSTON HAZMAT ROUTE.

Such submissions will also be accepted at the public hearings.  Mailed statements and exhibits intended for inclusion in the public hearing and comment record must be postmarked within ten (10) business days of September 23, 2011. All comments may also be emailed to bostonhazmat@state.ma.us.

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The City of Boston has also issued a press release regarding the public hearings:

Mayor Menino Urges Boston Residents to Attend MassDOT Sponsored

Public Hearings On Hazardous Materials Vehicle Routing

Boston residents are being encouraged to attend upcoming MassDOT sponsored public hearings on the topic of routing vehicles carrying hazardous materials through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  A total of four hearings will be held in the State in August and September.  The Boston hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, August 23, from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, on the second floor of the State Transportation Building at Ten Park Plaza.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said, “This weekend’s tanker crash on Route 1 in Saugus that resulted in loss of life, serious injury and property damage was a tragedy, but had it occurred in Downtown Boston it would have been catastrophic.”

“These vehicles simply do not belong on busy roadways in densely populated areas,” he added.  “The City of Boston has worked hard over the past year to implement changes to the routing of hazardous cargo through the North End and Charlestown residential neighborhoods, as well as through the Financial District.  A sad and disastrous incident such as this one serves to reinforce the validity of our concerns.”

On May 13 of this year, the City of Boston released the results of a Hazardous Transport Study conducted by a private contractor that determined that hazmat trucks traveling through Boston at any time present an unacceptable level of risk in accordance with federal government standards.  The report strongly recommends that only hazmat vehicles with drop-off or pick-up locations within Boston should be permitted to travel through the core of the City.  The study was undertaken after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, at the request of the Massachusetts Highway Department and the American Trucking Association, issued a preemption decision on an alternative hazardous cargo route.  The alternative route was developed by the City and designed to tighten regulations pertaining to hazmat vehicles traveling through Boston.

In a recent letter to the Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Jeffrey B. Mullan, Mayor Menino requested that the State quickly begin the process necessary to implement the recommendations of the study.  The upcoming public hearings are part of that process.  In addition to the hearing scheduled in Boston, MassDOT is also holding hearings in Quincy at the Thomas Crane Public Library on August 24 at 6:30 PM, in Waltham at the Clark Government Center Main Auditorium on August 30 at 6:30 PM, and in Stoneham at the Stoneham Town Hall Auditorium on September 1 at 6:30 PM.

In addition to attending the hearings, the City of Boston is encouraging both Boston residents and others concerned with the current regional Hazardous Materials routing procedures to express their views in writing to the following:

Anne S. Ferro, Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E.
Suite W60-300
Washington, DC  20590

Jeffrey B. Mullan, Secretary

Department of Transportation
Ten Park Plaza, Suite 3170
Boston, MA  02116

The City of Boston is urging MassDOT to act swiftly in establishing alternative routes recommended by the study.  In addition, the City is encouraging other cities and towns in the Commonwealth to request that MassDOT undertake a thorough review of all other Hazardous Materials transport policies in order to maximize safety throughout Massachusetts.

Boston Transportation Commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin said, “This is a regional issue.  Cities and towns should not be left to fend for themselves.  There needs to be a regional approach to this issue and it should be led by the State.”

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