Epsilon has been leading the environmental permitting for this significant interchange improvement project set to improve safety, reliability, and traffic flow to areas of Route 24 and Route 140.
This is an important regional transportation system project intended to improve safety and reliability at the existing Route 24/Route 140 Interchange in Taunton, Massachusetts. Improvements are needed at this interchange to address documented significant vehicular delays and reduce crash rates. This highway safety and reliability project on two heavily traveled state routes include improvements to 1.2 miles of Route 24 and nearly 1 mile of Route 140, as well as modifications to the interchange system and off-ramps. Within the project limits, Route 24 will be reconstructed to provide improved shoulders, accommodate a third travel lane, and new acceleration/deceleration lanes.
Existing Route 24 bridges over Route 140 and the Middleborough Secondary rail line will be replaced to accommodate the widened roadway and provide increased vertical clearance. In addition, modifications to the interchange include the construction of a new off-ramp from Route 24 southbound to Route 140 northbound and two-lane entrance ramps from Route 140. Route 140 will be widened to provide a new southbound bypass lane between the intersections of the Route 24 southbound and northbound ramps and additional turning lanes. Close coordination has occurred with the South Coast Rail commuter rail project to ensure construction schedule cooperation and improved access to the Taunton station.
This roadway improvement project required an extensive permitting effort, which Epsilon has been leading. Epsilon worked extensively with the design team to avoid and minimize wetland impacts where feasible, document existing conditions, and prepare permits. These permits included the Notice of Intent, Section 404 Individual Permit, and Section 401 Water Quality Certificate applications. It also included the design development of a large-scale wetland mitigation area (1.8 acres) and an accompanying comprehensive mitigation plan that satisfied permit requirements and reduced in-lieu fee (ILF) payments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by over $850,000.
Going back to 2014, interim traffic improvements were initially proposed and privately funded as a traffic mitigation project for the First Light Casino project. Instead, the Route 24 and Route 140 interchange improvements project was taken over by MassDOT’s Highway Division in 2018. Epsilon had worked on the project team for the interim improvements as well.
All permits were issued by July 2020 on schedule, and construction is anticipated to start in 2021 after the fall construction bid process. This project will have a huge positive impact on the local area by improving safety and helping to alleviate existing issues associated with growth and increased traffic through the interchange.