Today, Morrissey Boulevard (MB) is a critical transportation infrastructure component. End-of-century climate conditions and rising seas require MB to transform via coastal protection, planned retreat, and infrastructure adaption to protect existing uses and enhance future vibrancy of the locality. This strategy illustrates the relationship between urban and natural environments, preserving ecological benefits and creating a sense of place. The design concept is one that demonstrates Boston’s ability to preserve the character and utility of its infrastructure and neighborhoods while adapting to a changing climate and enhancing environmental and recreational benefits. The approach and specific strategy components are also replicable for other coastal transportation corridors facing similar challenges.

By 2100, the MB corridor will meet the needs of the surrounding community while responding to a changing climate. It will closely connect to the water, enhance recreation, and leverage both natural and hard infrastructure improvements to protect the area during high tide and storm events. A phased approach, accomplished by first resolving flooding and connectivity challenges, followed by progressive sustainable solutions, will provide long-term benefits to the community.

In the near term (until ~2030), MB remains a commuter corridor and evacuation route. Green levee systems adjacent to the roadway in Dorchester Bay, along with breakwaters and coastal marshland using Neponset River sediment for infill, provide immediate environmental benefits while reducing tidal energy reaching the roadway. Elevating roadway segments addresses flood challenges and roadway closures. Roadway reconfiguration allows bicycle/pedestrian lanes and buffer space.

As mid-century approaches (~2030-2070), transportation mode and technology advancements reduce demands on MB as a major arterial roadway allowing for a “road diet.” An elevated northern portion of MB, along Savin Hill from Kosciuszko Circle to new Columbia Point intersection (identified in Master Plan), is above anticipated flood levels but retains connections to adjacent uses. The southern portion is realigned to hug the interior of Dorchester Bay Basin parallel to I-93, elevated to incorporate bicycle/pedestrian waterfront amenities, and a beach levee system is established, all enhancing recreational opportunities and protection of I-93. The causeway portion of MB provides open space and recreational features while allowing for inundation during tidal or storm events. Savin Hill Yacht Club is relocated to north of the Vietnam War Memorial in Savin Hill Cove, requiring some fill that will also serve as protection to Bianculli Boulevard. Pattens Cove is converted to a stormwater management feature with extended outlet into the cove.

By end of century, the northern portion of MB links the Columbia Point neighborhood and UMass with points south. The southern causeway portion of MB transforms to naturalized open space in the form of tidal parkland and trails, while the realigned portion provides recreation and local access. MB preserves connectivity and enhances environmental benefits, recreational amenities, and waterfront access for residents and visitors by evolving with changing conditions and local needs.

Company Name
VHB/Haley & Aldrich

Team Member(s)
Christoph Gervais, Graphic Designer
David Black, Transportation Planner
Eric Monkiewicz, Civil Engineer
Geoffrey Morrison-Logan, Landscape Architect
Heather Scranton, Geotechnical Engineer
Jake San Antonio, Water Resource Engineer
Jillian Baker, Landscape Architect/Civil Engineer
John Kennedy, Traffic Engineer
Kari Hewitt, Sustainability Planner
Mark Shamon, Highway Engineer
Matt Kennedy, Water Resource Engineer
Matthew Egge, Environmental Planner
Meredith Avery, Wetland Scientist
Owen Miles, Hydrogeologist
Stephanie Kruel, SLR/Coastal Hazard Data