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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

2005 Environmental Excellence Awards

For Excellence in Livable/Sustainable Communities:

Central Artery/Tunnel Project

The "Big Dig," as the Central Artery/Tunnel Project is commonly known, is widely acknowledged as the largest, most complex urban highway project in transportation history. The project's overall design concept of replacing an elevated highway with an underground facility, enhances the compact, walkable character of downtown Boston. Traffic operations also benefit because the reduced number of on- and off-ramps help separate local traffic from interstate traffic. In addition, the project is building a series of first-rate parks and greenways that will be shared by Boston's residents, workers and visitors. These parks will be scattered throughout the city, including the path of the old elevated expressway that cut off downtown Boston from its waterfront. The project has completed one of the most comprehensive environmental assessments since the establishment of the National Environmental Policy Act. During design and planning, the project contributors collaborated and held hundreds of community meetings with a number of constituencies. Included in the process of determining appropriate design and mitigation were people living or doing business in directly affected areas, as well as Federal, State and local agencies. This project's components helped increase accessibility, improve environmental quality and enhance the livability and vitality of downtown Boston neighborhoods.

Project Contributors:

  • Massachusetts Turnpike Authority
  • City of Boston
  • Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection
  • Central Artery Environmental Oversight Committee
  • Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation
  • Artery Business Committee
  • Mayor's Central Artery Completion Task Force
photo of Massachusetts turnpike photo collage of Big Dig pictures
Updated: 10/24/2012
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