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Quincy Concourse to finish ahead of schedule, open Oct. 2

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  September 14, 2011 03:07 PM

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Mayor Thomas Koch shows MA Recovery and Reinvestment Director Jeffrey Simon the construction site of the Concourse in June as federal funds are used to complete the work.

Quincy will open the entirety of the concourse at 10 a.m. on Oct. 2 after decades of dreaming, planning, and construction to bring the four-lane highway connecting Burgin Parkway and the downtown into existence.

The road has been described as the lynchpin to the city’s $1.6 billion downtown redevelopment, and creates a cross-town, east-west connection from Burgin Parkway to Southern Artery.

It is meant to make travel through and around Quincy Center easier, and will eventually provide a new access route to the soon-to-be revitalized downtown.

“This new road is a vital foundation for what will be the most substantial economic development plan in our City’s great history,” said Mayor Thomas Koch in a release. “Its completion is a major milestone, and another sign that we are making real progress on this historic project every day.”

It’s an accomplishment for many city officials, who have seen through the final two phases of this project including demolition contracts, asbestos findings, and finally the reconstruction of McGrath Highway.

Phase One, the construction of the Paul Harold Bridge, was completed in 2002.

Although officials initially intended the project to be begun earlier, incorrect filings with the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization in 2007 delayed the process until 2009.

The set timeline created 2010 set the completion date for the concourse to June 2012, a prospectus that city officials have been able to beat.

“Under no time under this administration has any schedule been altered,” Mayoral spokesperson Christopher Walker said.

In total, the city spent $13.7 million on acquiring property and paying mitigations to make way for the concourse, with another $87,500 on easements for businesses during construction.

The money was spent out of a $30 million bond for District Improvement Financing (DIF) that the city secured in 2007.

The second phase of construction was paid with a $2 million million Public Works Economic Development grant awarded in 2006. An additional $2.3 million in financing from the DIF rounded out a portion of McGrath Highway construction.

The final phase of the concourse’s construction, or the Hancock Street crossing, was paid with approximately $8 million in federal stimulus money from the Department of Transportation.

All in all, it’s been a combination of state, federal, and local money to make this project a reality, officials said. As such, a number of state and federal officials are expected to attend the dedication ceremony for the road.

City officials will also honor the concourse opening with a finalization of the naming of the concourse as the Walter J. Hannon Parkway.

Named after previous mayor Walter J. Hannon, the namesake is appropriate for the city, officials said.

Not only was he the first to conceive a master plan for the downtown in the 1970s, but more recently he led the committee to draft new zoning guidelines for Quincy Center, aimed at attracting a major redeveloper.

“Mayor Hannon has played a critical role in the future of Quincy Center for the last three decades, and this roadway will be a testament to the legacy he built,” Koch said in a release.

The road is currently undergoing final paving and other finishing touches.

The finished roadway is expected to add 37,256 trips a day, 15,479 more trips than is currently taken into the area.

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