Needham St./Highland Ave. redesign funds approved!

Funding for the long-delayed upgrade of Needham Street and Highland Avenue in the N2 Corridor was approved today by the The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Today's vote means that funds for the project will be available for construction to begin starting in 2018.

"This is a really significant day for our communities," said Greg Reibman, president of the Newton-Needham Chamber. "Businesses and residents have been waiting decades for a solution to the traffic nightmares along Needham Street and Highland Ave."

The project would stretch roughly two miles, from Webster Street in Needham to Route 9 in Newton. It would widen Needham Street and Highland Avenue and their sidewalks, improve intersections, add bikes lanes and crossing signals, and rehabilitate the bridge over the Charles River.

The Boston MPO is the regional body that oversees federal and state transportation spending, including the region's share of the federal gasoline tax.

"We appreciate the Boston MPO decision to make this a priority," Reibman said. "We commend Newton Mayor Setti Warren, Needham Selectman Chair Moe Handel and their teams' coordinated efforts to finally make this happen."

The corridor project is estimated to cost $14 million. Last year, Newton and Needham received a $3.3 million state MassWorks grant for Needham to begin work between First and Second avenues and for Newton to reconfigure the intersection around Oak and Christina streets. Both of these developments have reduced the cost of the project.

Although money for the project has been secured the final design process as well as permitting and some land taking needs to be completed.

The Board of the Heights Association would like to hear your input. If you have suggestions for meetings, or input on the tentative schedule for next year. Contact us at outreach@nhna.org.