From the Globe: Mayor Wu touts federal grant application to realign Turnpike and knit Allston back together

City and state officials are seeking up to $1.2 billion in federal money to re-align the Massachusetts Turnpike, which in turn would open up roughly 100 acres of developable land in Allston currently owned by Harvard University. David L. Ryan/Globe staff

Allston has been divided in half by the Massachusetts Turnpike for six decades. Now, the Wu and Baker administrations are taking a major step in a $2 billion project that would stitch the neighborhood back together over the next two decades, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports.

Mayor Michelle Wu on Wednesday met with reporters at a former rail yard alongside the Pike in Allston to herald an application for $1.2 billion in federal infrastructure funds that she and state transportation secretary Jamey Tesler sent to Washington last week. Wu had just toured the Beacon Park Yard property, now owned by Harvard University, with Tesler and other state officials.

Wu and Tesler are seeking federal assistance to realign the turnpike so it runs alongside the commuter rail tracks through the neighborhood and at ground level, instead of above ground on a viaduct. The I-90 Allston Multimodal Project would allow Harvard to develop on decks that would go above the tracks and the realigned highway. Wu described this project, which also includes a new transportation hub to be called West Station, as a remedy to the injustice caused by the Pike’s construction in the 1960s.

“We are standing on the brink of having a path forward for that,” said Wu, flanked by politicians and community activists from Allston and Brighton. “This will create jobs for decades and generations to come. It will create cleaner air, healthier communities, and an incredible amount of opportunity.”

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