Turning the McGrath Highway into a ground-level boulevard has been talked about for decades, but at a public meeting on Tuesday, February 13, MassDOT revealed that funding will be in place by 2027 to begin the design process of tearing down the McCarthy Overpass that cuts off the East Somerville and Brickbottom neighborhoods from the rest of the city. Ward 1 Councilor Matt McLaughlin sums up my thoughts well when he talks about this grounding of the state highway as righting a historical wrong that isolates his ward.

Grounding McGrath rendering

Streetsblog Massachusetts has a great summary of the changes proposed to Route 28 between Broadway and the 3rd Street in Cambridge. There's a lot to love about removing a decaying eyesore and moving to a ground-level road. The boulevard approach will be better for traffic calming than the stretches that are elevated, limited-access road that current signal "freeway" to drivers. The new biking infastructure and pedestrian safety improvements are great news as well.

While I view the project as a positive one for our city, I do have some concerns. Pedestrians having to cross six lanes of vehicle traffic at intersections is less than ideal. It's also going to take a while for the tree-lined boulevard pictured in the renderings to become a reality, and in the meantime the wide-open highway is going to still send visual cues to drivers that it's a high-speed road. And I'm leery of demolishing the Otis Street footbridge until we've shown we can calm traffic on the McGrath.

But overall I'm very supportive of these changes and I'm excited to see them become a reality. I want to thank our partners at the state, all the City staff who have worked on this over the years, and my fellow Somerville electeds who beat the drum for this work.

Jake Wilson


Somerville City Councilor-At-Large (he/him/él)