Neighboring Areas Concerned About Robust Truck Traffic

Thursday, October 20, 2011
By Seth Daniel

It’s too bad that beach sand can’t just fall from the sky.

It seems that the Winthrop Beach renourishment plan just cannot escape controversy. In its 10-year history, though never really getting off the drawing board, it has elicited complaints from all corners.

Now that the plan is ready for action, there is now quite a storm brewing over the project in Revere and East Boston.

“We are not thrilled with this project and how they plan to truck in the sand and we have let the DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) know our opposition,” said Revere Mayor Tom Ambrosino. “This will mean hundreds of trucks traveling through out community each day.”

In Eastie, Joe Ruggiero – vice president of the Orient Heights Neighborhood Council (OHNC) – said he would vigorously fight any plan to bring sand through Orient Heights Square.

That leaves little or no options for the new plan, recently approved by state environmental regulators.

The new Winthrop Beach plan calls for bringing sand from an embankment in the Rumney Marsh at Revere’s Copeland Circle. The old embankment was once proposed as the roadbed for Interstate 95 back in the 1970s, and the sand in the embankment is the same sand that was used to renourish Revere Beach after the Blizzard of `78.

No one is really upset about that part of the plan – which has proved to be a low-cost and agreeable alternative to barging in sand from an underwater, offshore site as was originally proposed.

The point of contention lies in how the sand will get to Winthrop Beach.

The DCR plan calls for nearly 150 truck trips per day, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for some 18 months. That plan would result in thousands and thousands of trucks traveling either the roads of Revere or East Boston.

In Revere, Ward 1 City Councillor (Beachmont) Richard Penta said that he is absolutely against the plan that calls for the route going through Beachmont via Revere Beach Parkway and Winthrop Parkway, passing by Short Beach on the entrance to Winthrop.

“That route isn’t set in stone,” he said recently. “I don’t see how they can plan to bring that many tractor trailers through Beachmont. Winthrop wants to fix their beach; that’s all well and good, but that’s a lot of trucks coming through my area.”

Meanwhile, Revere City Councillors representing areas further up the line, such as the ever-busy Bell Circle, said they also oppose the plan to bring so many trucks through their community.

Revere Council President John Powers – who represents that area of Revere – put in a motion at Monday’s Revere City Council meeting to oppose the route and look for some better way.

Oddly enough, one solution was to bring sand in by a barge.

Obviously, Winthrop has already been through that discussion.

Revere Mayor Ambrosino said he hopes that another truck route can be found.

So far, the only other route would be to avoid Beachmont in Revere by going all the way to Boardman Street and traveling through Orient Heights Square and Saratoga Street in Eastie.

Naturally, the business community in Orient Heights was up in arms when informed of the alternate trucking route.

Ruggiero said he couldn’t believe that was being discussed, as the square is already jammed with cars and cannot handle big trucks.

He pledged to call on Eastie’s state and local officials to address the Winthrop Beach plan at a meeting next month.

The DCR has indicated that they would like to begin trucking in the sand some time next spring.

  • Woodeewooe

    Who can blame officials in Revere and Orient Heights for griping over a mad scheme by state bureaucrats to send 150 truckloads a day of beach sand through residential neighborhoods. I should think the rolks on Revere Street, and merchants and residents on Crest Avenue, Winthrop would join the Revee and East Boston protests.  Why House Speaker DeLeo, who represents both Revere and Winthrop is even willing to put up with this outrageous scheme staggers the imagination. 

    One wonders whether small barges and tugs could operate in waters adjacent to the Rumney Marsh. If this were possible, why couldn’t truckloads of sand be brought to a transfer point along the marsh waterway? Sure, the treehuggers would whine and protest, but the duration of such an operation would be limited, and would keep diesel air pollution reduced as well as vehicular traffic sharply limited.  Such a plan – given that state and federal bureaucrats ae the ones who have monkeyed up this entire Winthrop Beach resanding operation – would probably be successfully concluded with a reconstruction of the marsh area used for a transfer point.  Environmental regulators force private parties to perform such work fairly often.

    Environmental bureaucrats and their allies – in this case fishermen – have caused this entire mess and the delays it has produced.  One wonders what Speaker DeLeo has been doing – maybe he was involved in finding the sand at the never build highway site in Revere, but he has also deferred to the DCR, a major mistake under the current agency management and under the previous MDC management.  Remember the scheme to make Shore Drive, Winthrop a one-way street so the bureaucrats could widen Shore Drive sidewalks? Take a look at the Short Beach construction projdct and wonder when the first car is going to smash into the southerly end of that internal seawall.

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