By Katie Brace

BOSTON (CBS) – Traffic bottles up along the curvy stretch of the Mass Pike sitting high next to Boston University dorm windows. But, it could soon be in drivers’ rear-view mirrors.

“Traffic in New England has been kind of really crazy, so anything that will help traffic I think will be great,” said Ronnie Dealmeida.

The state Department of Transportation plans to remove the elevated section of the Mass Pike. The road would be built on the ground and straightened out by running through the nearby railroad yard.

A rendering of the planned elevation of Soldiers Field Road (Image credit: MassDOT)

“I think it’s a very good idea,” said Carla Prescott.

The state said the project will cost between $1.1 and $1.2 billion dollars. It’s expected to take eight years to complete. It would affect at least the 150,000 vehicles that travel the stretch every day.

“I think we learned a lot from the Big Dig. I think probably the state engineers would approach this differently, maybe take some of the lessons learned from that project and carry it forward to this one, and maybe make a better project here,” said Troy Brogan.

The affected portions of the Mass Pike and Soldiers Field Road. (Photo credit: MassDOT)

There’s more to the plan, as part of Soldiers Field Road would be elevated over the Mass Pike to create more green space and bike lanes by the Charles River. It would look something like a picture in a November 2018 document, though MassDOT stresses this is not a final nor accurate rendering.

“Overall the greener the better. But also the construction is kind of concerning,” said Valerie Kravitz.

MassDOT acknowledges travelers will be impacted and stresses the plan is about looking long-term. Those who regularly drive the Pike are not ready to hit the gas.

“It’s a lot of money and a lot of time,” said Dealmeida.

When asked how the project will be paid for, a spokesperson said funding sources are not yet available.

Work is still a little ways off as the state hopes to have a contractor in place by the end of 2020.

Katie Brace

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