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Martin A. Coughlin Bypass Road opens to route commercial traffic off East Boston streets

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  November 28, 2012 03:36 PM

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Coughlin Bypass.jpg
A map traces the route of the Coughlin Bypass.

The Massachusetts Port Authority officially has opened a $23.5 million new access road for commercial traffic from Logan International Airport.

Named for the late Martin A. Coughlin, a neighborhood activist who lobbied for a commercial road to reduce traffic congestion in Day Square, the two-lane road runs a half-mile through an unused railroad corridor in the airport’s North Service Area.

The road is intended to improve local traffic flow as well as air quality, Massport said in a statement.

“The Martin A. Coughlin Bypass Road is a great example of the quality-of-life improvements that can be made by thinking creatively and collaboratively about abandoned infrastructure,” said Richard A. Davey, the state’s transportation secretary and chairman of the board for Massport, which owns and operates Logan Airport, in the statement.

“The new roadway also complements the new Chelsea Street Bridge by allowing traffic in the area to flow more efficiently.”

Coughlin died in 2000 at age 56. In the Massport statement, his sister Mary Coughlin Johnston expressed the family’s happiness that his mission had finally been realized.

“Our family is overjoyed that Marty’s idea for a bypass road has become a reality,” Johnston said. “The road came about because Massport, community activists and our political representatives came together, keeping the neighborhood of East Boston in mind.”

Only airport and other commercial traffic — including MBTA buses, Massport employee shuttles, trucks, and taxis — may use the new road.

A Massport map shows the bypass beginning at the intersection of Lovell and Frankfort streets, just south of Neptune Road, and passing under Route 1A to run in parallel with Bremen Street until it intersects with Chelsea Street at a former rail spur between Beck and Curtis streets.

Massport expects two-thirds less truck and bus traffic on Neptune Road and a 54 percent reduction in Chelsea Street traffic.

US Representative Michael E. Capuano said the road was the legacy of Coughlin’s work.

“The completion of the bypass road is a fitting tribute to Marty Coughlin, who advocated so strongly for it,” Capuano said in a statement. “I thank Massport for its work on the bypass road, which will take trucks off residential streets, improve air quality and enhance local neighborhoods. I have advocated for this project since taking office and I am happy to celebrate its completion.”

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