South Shore: Proposed new truck route could cost area millions

It’s an issue pitting safety concerns against increased fuel costs and longer delivery routes to suburban homes and businesses.

Authorities are moving closer to deciding whether trucks carrying hazardous materials will be forced to loop around Boston to the north and use Rte. 128 to get to the South Shore.

Opponents say fuel distribution costs would rise as much as five cents per gallon.

An industry group says residents and businesses south of Boston would pay about $60 million per year in higher gas, diesel and heating oil bills.

State Transportation Secretary Richard Davey says a decision on the hotly-contested issue is weeks away.

It’s the latest chapter in a long-running battle over truck routes in Boston.

Mayor Tom Menino has repeatedly lobbied to rid city streets of trucks carrying hazardous materials.

A 2006 daytime ban on surface streets was overturned by the Federal government in 2010.

Last spring, Menino called for a ban on fuel trucks passing through downtown Boston while heading to other communities, based on a study that critics say is flawed.

They also say the proposed Rte. 128 bypass has an expected accident rate of double that of the current route.

About Garo Hagopian

Garo Hagopian has been a member of the WATD family as a weekend news anchor since 2008, and has been a writer-producer-editor at WBZ in Boston since 1996.