6. THE I-495 TECHNOLOGY CORRIDOR
N either the I-495 Technology
Corridor, nor I-495 itself for that matter,
apple orchard. Nothing much had
changed, except the slow, insidious
decline of both manufacturing and farm-
existed, even on paper, until 1957, when ing, in over 50 years.
it was laid out as part of the massive
Interstate Highway System authorized Between 1990 and 2000, the
by Congress in 1956. At that time, these communities in the I-495 Technology
communities (extending from Rte. 2 in Corridor (self-named by a group formed
Littleton to Rte. 1 in Wrentham) had by local businesses under the steward-
practically nothing to do with each ship of Senator David Magnani several
other. They were simply a collection of years ago) grew faster, as a group, than
former industrial villages (shoes in any other region with the exception of
Marlborough, quarrying and shoes in the Cape. From 1990 to 2000 alone, the
Buildout breakdown: Corresponding to the categories of
Milford, textiles and shoes in Hudson) population grew from about 395,000 to
the buildout map on the next page, this chart indicates in and farming towns. What was left was 449,000, an increase of about 13%.
pink, the percentage of currently developed or absolutely mostly woods, small town centers, and
constrained land due to steep slopes, wetlands and other Between 1950 and 2000, available new
factors. The percentage of protected land is depicted in the occasional dairy or vegetable farm or commercial and industrial space grew
green and the percentage of unprotected, developable land
in brown. Below are summary statistics that outline the
demographic and service impacts to the region if all of
its remaining unprotected land were built out.
Additional Developable Acres:
Additional Residential Units:
Additional Water Demand
(gallons per day):
This Buildout Summary data Above are pie charts depicting land use in 1971, 1985 and 1999.
is available for every community within this region Land uses for each region in this book are interpreted from aerial photography
at the end of this chapter. taken in each of these years and assigned to general categories.
Buildout Map of the I-495 Technology Corridor This map shows in pink, lands that are already built out or constrained
from development due to steep slopes, wetlands or other factors.
A window to the future: each of the regional buildout maps Lands in green are permanently protected from development. 52
in this book is a summarized version of EOEA's five-map buildout series The remaining lands in brown are unprotected developable lands.
created on the community level for all 351 municipalities in the state. (See summary pie chart on preceeding page.)
from almost nothing to about 50 million the rub. Each new 1 million sq. ft. of biodiversity, water assets, or 6.
sq. ft. Population exploded during that commercial/industrial space houses public access, "buildout" 53
50 year period as well and water and about 4,000 jobs, which in turn generate happens when a community’s
sewer capacities were stretched. As the about 8,000 people needing a place to developable land drops below 25%.
buildout analyses suggest, this may be live. At that rate, the 195 million sq. ft. That has already happened in several
only the beginning. of office space will create about 1.56 I-495 communities, and will likely occur
million people looking for housing. in all of them within the next 10 years.
The I-495 Corridor will The I-495 Corridor is probably the
generate an additional 195 million sq. ft. leading cause of housing growth in the
of commercial and industrial space at Blackstone River region and the Nashua
buildout. It will also generate room for River region.
about 162,000 more people, about 36% Within BioMap Core Habitat Areas
more than its present population. At As we saw on the Cape, in terms
current growth rates, total residential of the usefulness of saving large
buildout will occur by 2030. But here’s unfragmented tracts to protect
BUSINESSES LEARN TO GROW IN THE FACE OF WATER SHORTAGES
In an effort to alleviate the stress on water quality and quantity in this region,
EOEA's Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) hosted workshops to bring together area
businesses to convey the message that it is possible to maintain flexible manufacturing
operations in the face of limited water
resources. These workshops launched OTA's
industrial water conservation and zero
discharge program and enabled industry
leaders like Intel Corporation, who have
achieved a significant measure of water
sustainability, to share their knowledge and BioMap Core Habitat Areas
expertise so that other businesses can see vs.Total Area ofthe
sustainable manufacturing operations in I-495 Technology Corridor
practice and be motivated to do the same.
Intel Corporation will soon host a
water conservation and recovery seminar for
the High Tech Industry sector to demonstrate
how they have succeeded in conserving and
recovering water in their wafer manufacturing
CASTion Corporation of Ludlow (left to right): and cleaning operations. Intel's success runs
John Gannon, CEO and Steve Brown,Vice President.
contrary to old industry practices that were
based on the premise that water recovery processes were not possible in high-tech
applications given the extreme sensitivity of the product.
OTA is developing a web page dedicated to industrial water conservation.
It will not only highlight the workshops and efforts of Intel and other industry leaders,
it will help spread the word about new zero discharge technologies like the CAST
Technology, a closed-loop flash distillation and vapor recovery system, developed,
manufactured, marketed, and installed by CASTion Corporation of Ludlow, Massachusetts. BioMap Breakdown:
Corresponding to the BioMap on the next page, the
CASTion and other innovative technologies have been identified and serviced through lower chart indicates the percentage of the region
the Massachusetts Strategic Envirotechnology Partnership (STEP). STEP is a collaborative that is within core BioMap areas. Of those areas,
the upper chart indicates how they breakdown by
effort of EOEA and UMass that promotes the development and use of new environmental percentage into buildout map categories. Pink areas
technologies in Massachusetts. These technologies help us address today's and tomorrow's are developed or absolutely constrained due to steep
natural resource and economic challenges in smarter, faster and less expensive ways. slopes wetlands and other factors. Green areas are
permanently protected. Brown areas are unprotected
and available for development.
BioMap of the I-495 Technology Corridor 6.
A view of buildout information within BioMap areas: Pink areas are either developed or absolutely constrained due to steep 54
the BioMap identifies areas deemed critical to the long-term viability of slopes, wetlands or other factors. Green areas are permanently protected.
the Commonwealth's most significant biodiversity. Consisting of both core Brown areas are unprotected areas available for development.
and supporting habitat areas, this map was overlayed onto a buildout map (See summary pie charts on predeeding page.)
for each region in the state. This intersection between critical biological
areas and community zoning reveals their fragility to development.
WATER ASSETS 55
THE ASSABET RIVER
The headwaters of the
The Organization for the Assabet River (OAR) was founded in 1986 by a group
Charles River are in Hopkinton. Both
of canoeists, fishermen, and others who loved the river and were disgusted that it had
the Assabet and the Sudbury Rivers
become little more than an open sewer. Inspired by Marian Stoddard (see story of
begin in Westborough. Parts of the
Nashua River Watershed Association, Chapter 8) and assisted by Michele Monjeau,
I-495 communities are in the Blackstone
then a staff member at the then newly created Riverways program of the state’s
watershed in the south and in the
Department of Fisheries and
Nashua watershed in the north. No
Wildlife, the group set out to
one river defines the area. What does
reclaim the river. Initially, OAR
define these communities is their
focused on annual river
pervasive search for water.
cleanups, attracting more
volunteers each year. That work
At buildout, the I-495
continues and in 2001, a record
communities will require an additional
198 people pulled tires, bottles,
26 million gallons of clean water per day,
car parts, and other debris from
and will then have to treat that water
once it has been used. The MWRA was
always assumed to be a solution for
While the cleanups have
future water needs. The MWRA aqueduct
been very successful, the river's
runs through the center of the I-495
Organization for the Assabet River members (left to right): problems persist. The Assabet is
Julia Blatt, Executive Director; Paul Blazar, Chairman of Corridor. The area looks like it is covered
choked with floating and rooted
The AssabetConsortium and Hudson Town Manager; with water, from the pond at Hopkinton
and Betsy Stokey, President. aquatic plants during the summer,
State Park to the Sudbury Reservoir in
a condition called "eutrophication."
Marlborough and Southborough to the
The vegetation makes boating and other recreational activities difficult in the impounded
interconnected ponds running through
stretches of the river and can harm fish and other aquatic life by creating dramatic
Framingham and Natick. Most people
fluctuations in dissolved oxygen concentrations. The primary cause of the problem is
do not realize that all of these ponds
excess nutrients (specifically phosphorus and nitrogen) that come from the stormwater
were originally created to provide
runoff, sediments, and from the treated wastewater discharges from the seven wastewater
water to Boston, before the Wachusett
treatment plants along the river. According to studies, approximately 80% of the river
Reservoir was built. As discussed in
flow comes from these treatment plants. The nutrients from the treated effluent and
earlier chapters, the most prudent use
other sources feed the aquatic plants.
of the small MWRA projected surplus
at buildout may be to set it aside as a
In 1998, a proposal by the Town of Acton to add an eighth wastewater
reserve against future drought events.
treatment plant that would discharge into the river prompted OAR to formally ask DEP
We saw in Northeastern Massachusetts
and EPA to study the river's eutrophication problem and determine how much nutrient
what happens when too many people
loading the river could assimilate, while remaining healthy and useful for recreation.
are drawing from the same well, or
In response, DEP and the US Army Corps of Engineers funded a study, referred to in
watershed. A more local example is
the federal Clean Water Act as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analysis. It
Well #5 in Franklin, where heavy
began in 1999 and will likely be completed in 2002. OAR staff and volunteers have
pumping regularly draws down the
supported the study by assisting with fieldwork and conducting bathymetric and
ponds in neighboring Norfolk.
sediment depth surveys for all the major river impoundments.
The future area-wide challenge
When the TMDL study began, DEP and EPA asked the six communities
most consistently identified by local
served by the four largest treatment plants (Shrewsbury/Westborough, Marlborough/
leaders is dealing with intercommunity
Northborough, Hudson, and Maynard) to develop comprehensive management plans
sharing of water assets. These communities
both to meet their future wastewater needs and comply with stringent new nutrient
are also leading the way in looking for
limits at the treatment plants. OAR is assisting with this complex planning process,
solutions. Communities are working
which offers the best hope yet that the Assabet will again be a river in which we can
with DEP to look at water recharge,
safely swim, boat, and fish.
discharge trading, and other innovative
ways to deal with intercommunity use
of common resources. Like wastewater
discharge capacity in the river, clean
Low tide?: Kingsbury
Pond in Norfolk is one
of many I-495 water
bodies that are drawn
below normal levels.
water withdrawal will soon become an
And while the search for
additional water supplies goes on,
there is a growing recognition that
conservation is a key factor in the
continued growth in this region,
particularly within the high tech industry
sector. The businesses in the I-495
region rely on access to water to produce
their products. Right now, industries
in this region are slowing down their
production as a result of water limitations.
In response, EOEA's Office of Technical
Assistance (OTA) is working with the
area Watershed Team and businesses
leaders like Intel, to provide technical
assistance to local businesses to help
them face this increasingly difficult
challenge. Workshops, training sessions,
and site visits are being conducted to
teach new water conservation strategies
and to introduce new zero discharge
technologies that allow companies to
reuse waste, eliminate environmental
impacts, save money, and continue to
grow their businesses.
Protecting Public Water
Supply Areas: This map
illustrates a variety of
wellhead protection areas
important for protecting
the recharge areas around
public water supply wells.
LAND PROTECTION VISION
In the mid-1980s, Sudbury Valley
Trustees (SVT) was a small land trust
The communities along I-495
with a 2-person office and big dreams
are rapidly evolving into a continuous
of regional land conservation. Success
linear city. The communities along
depended on local activism by concerned
I-495 always thought of themselves
citizens working though the efficient and
individually, until I-495 unwittingly tied
entrepreneurial land trust. Greater Callahan Working Group members
(left to right): Stephen Johnson, Sudbury Valley them together. Now, each community
Trustees; Celia O'Brien, Framingham wants to maintain its own special
In a 1986 newsletter, Director Conservation Commission; and Russ Turmail, character, while taking advantage of
Allen Morgan sketched out his dream Framingham resident volunteer.
the opportunities that prosperity and
for land conservation, the Nobscot Plan,
growth have brought.
anchored around some major
holdings in the Sudbury
What is it that makes
and Framingham area.
a community special? Each
Municipal and state officials
community uniquely defines
were found to be supportive
itself, and what it wants to
when there was a strong and
save in the midst of change.
active constituency behind
In the older manufacturing
activists and leaders have
Now, SVT has
worked together to restore
become the major open space
and preserve downtowns and
planning and protection
neighborhoods. And, as on
agency in the I-495 area
the Cape and in Northeastern
with a professional staff of
12. Recently, SVT completed
are scrambling to assemble
a planning vision, or
and link open space.
Greenways Plan, that would
ultimately result in the
preservation of over 20,000 acres
in the area.
Implementation still relies
on energizing and focusing citizen
activists and enlightened local officials
working through SVT in partnership
with the state environmental agencies.
The Greater Callahan Working Group
will not rest until this corner of the
watershed is well conserved.
The idea of the Greater
Callahan Greenway Plan
(right) dates back to the
early 1980s when SVT
first came up with what it
then called the Nobscot
Plan, which links
Callaghan State Park with
Commission and other
SVT land (top).
The future I-495 Corridor 58
will be either a mixed jumble or a
community preservation quilt.
Don Burn remembers when he moved to Westborough in 1978. Don likes
Downtown Marlborough, Hudson,
hiking, but when he asked new neighbors where he could go to walk, the answer was
Milord, Holliston, and Littleton, and
always the same: out of Town. Don started
other communities are potential
exploring the Town, and meeting other people
anchors, preserving their unique
in the community who enjoy the out of doors,
historic character while encouraging
which led to his joining the Open Space
the development of vibrant and walkable
neighborhoods around downtown.
Innovative open space corridor plans
Viewing Westborough from
like the Charm Bracelet in Westborough
Rte. 9 or from I-495, it looks like there is
and the Jackson Trail system in
no open space left to save. When the Open
Marlborough, could evolve into
Space Preservation Committee and the
intercommunity trail systems. The core Westborough Charm Bracelet Trail blazers Westborough Community Land Trust saw a
for these open spaces will probably be (left to right): Don Burn, Westborough
Selectwoman Kristina Allen and Jim Robbins, map of the trails in town they were surprised
the vast protected open spaces owned
Westborough Town Planner. at the number of locations with existing
by the Department of Fisheries and
trails, and the possibilities for making
Wildlife and located almost exactly in
connections between them. One viewer said it reminded him of Boston’s Emerald
the middle of the Technology Corridor,
Necklace of connected green spaces on a smaller scale, so the idea of the "Charm
just off I-495 in Westborough and
Bracelet" was born. When completed, the project will be a continuous 26-mile
Northborough. From this hub, spokes
circumferential trail linking the open spaces that surround Westborough and,
will probably lead to the open space
additionally, a town-wide network of side trails to feed into the main loop. A total
clusters that the Sudbury Valley Trustees
of two miles of the loop will be along roads, the rest will take you away from it all.
have identified and targeted. This
unusual but integrated linear patchwork
Don Burn is one of the driving forces behind the Charm Bracelet. According
quilt of land will have, as its spine, a very
to Burn, last year the effort hit the halfway point with about 13 miles of the loop trail
unusual-looking Main Street: I-495.
now built. How long will the rest take to complete? "I intend to walk the whole 26-mile
loop in 2005," answers Burn.
"Once we started, the response
has been wonderful, from vol-
unteers building the trails,
to over 100 people coming out
for the celebration walks in
2001." The trail system already
extends into neighboring
Northborough, with plans
in place to link to all the
A walk around town: a
rendition of the proposed
26-mile walking trail that
Westborough and connect
to existing trails in
Community and business
TRANSPORTATION leaders, led by Mayor Bill Mauro of 59
AND THE FUTURE Marlborough and supported by the
OF I-495 Metropolitan Area Planning Council,
are looking for solutions. A set of
The I-495 area is the only interconnected bus routes has evolved,
In many ways, the "Boroughs
region in the state really defined by practically below the radar screen.
Area" (Hudson, Berlin, Marlborough,
an interstate highway. Ironically, These will increase in number and
Northborough, Southborough and
transportation will be one of its greatest importance as people use the reverse
Westborough) is already a city, with
future challenges. I-495 within the commute on the area’s railroads as a
30-million sq. ft. of commercial/industrial
Corridor, which has three travel lanes faster alternative to an increasingly
space, a regional mall, a hospital in
going in each direction and which had congested I-495, Mass Pike, I-290,
Marlborough, and even a new Boroughs
no automobiles on it in 1964, is already Rte. 9, and Rte. 2. Rail links will bring
YMCA being built in Westborough.
at close to its peak-hour capacity in people out from Greater Boston to
What it has not had, until recently, is
some stretches. Regular traffic backups Littleton, Westborough, and Franklin.
a way to get around, except by car.
plague the exits and the connector roads It will also bring them in from the west,
Through the leadership of local
at Marlborough, Westborough, from Worcester, Fitchburg, Leominster,
politicians and citizens, that is
Hopkinton, and Franklin every day. eventually all the way from Orange
What should be done? and Athol.
The I-495 Technology Corridor
Commission has focused on building a
series of interconnected bus links to knit
the area together. Those links will become
more important as proposed rail stops
get completed in Southborough and
Grafton. Overall, the communities along
central I-495 should become a destination
for increasing numbers of commuters
from Worcester, the Nashua and
Blackstone valleys, and reverse
commuters from Greater Boston.
Sugar Road Bridge overlook onto I-495, Bolton.
Potential future public transit routes in the
I-495 Technology Corridor Initiative's High
Level of Use Scenario include bus routes and
MBTA commuter lines.
Acres Units Industrial Demand
Acton 2,229 2,528 996 928,543 259,228
Ashland 1,653 6,222 2,645 4,398,965 749,240
Bellingham 4,145 5,097 1,840 21,509,455 1,995,481
Berlin 4,634 3,705 1,338 1,125,524 362,298
Bolton 4,477 5,046 1,740 410,557 409,241
Boxborough 2,342 2,042 884 3,272,426 398,530
Carlisle 2,965 3,272 1,169 - 245,403
Chelmsford 1,756 3,326 1,053 6,070,182 704,714
Framingham 1,831 7,684 3,227 1,788,047 710,414
Franklin 4,519 12,652 4,686 11,256,556 1,793,115
Holliston 4,890 8,712 3,070 11,027,157 1,480,903
Hopkinton 7,614 12,599 4,632 4,846,298 1,308,422
Hudson 2,442 4,095 1,606 12,826,337 1,269,098
Littleton 3,733 7,249 2,854 1,866,695 683,643
Marlborough 4,144 7,267 2,918 27,041,609 2,573,148
Maynard 289 1,314 547 736,091 153,720
Medway 2,617 5,658 2,057 4,142,799 735,033
Milford 3,006 5,817 2,299 8,820,043 1,097,798
Millis 2,275 4,043 1,555 4,192,686 617,638
Norfolk 3,009 6,816 2,295 2,889,694 727,895
Northborough 4,674 7,459 2,331 18,940,147 1,482,772
Southborough 1,817 3,909 1,545 5,322,605 692,371
Stow 2,822 3,680 1,319 3,199,294 515,915
Sudbury 3,387 4,979 2,088 542,935 483,955
Westborough 2,167 3,915 1,755 11,998,751 1,193,502
Westford 6,727 14,235 4,637 17,964,654 2,414,985
Wrentham 6,663 9,260 3,367 7,714,410 1,273,110
Total 92,827 162,581 60,453 194,832,460 26,331,572