Where there was once an old long-forgotten railroad covered in overgrown weeds is now a beehive of activity.
Construction crews have been busy since November carving out what will eventually the area’s long awaited by-pass road along the former Conrail Right-of-Way–an old railroad route that stretched unimpeded through East Boston to Chelsea.
“Work is progressing and we are hopeful the road will open late in 2012,” said Massport spokesman Matt Brelis.
In November, nearly four decades after longtime activist, the late Marty Coughlin, came up with the idea for a bypass road, Massport joined federal, state and local officials to break ground on the $25 million project.
When completed later this year, the road will provide limited commercial access between Boston Logan International Airport and Chelsea Street, near the Chelsea Street Bridge.
The new road is expected to improve traffic on residential streets significantly by removing commercial airport traffic and improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions such as volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen.
In honor of Coughlin, a community organizer who was a long proponent of the idea until his untimely death, Massport named the roadway the Martin A. Coughlin Bypass Road. Coughlin died in 2000 at the age of 56. Massport estimates the bypass road will reduce bus and truck traffic on Neptune Road by 64 percent and on Chelsea Street by 54 percent.
The two-lane roadway will be used by airport-related commercial traffic only and will consist of Massport shuttle buses which transport airport workers to and from a 1,500 space garage in Chelsea, taxis and MBTA buses serving Logan Airport and cargo vehicles.
As Coughlin envisioned in the early 1970s, the road will run along an abandoned rail corridor between Frankfort Street and Lovell Street where a traffic light will be placed. The northern end of the bypass, which will run about one-half mile in length, will split with northbound traffic intersecting Chelsea Street via a former rail spur slightly north of Beck Street. Southbound traffic will enter the bypass roadway at Beck Street.
The project will create 46 construction jobs and is expected to be complete in October 2012.