STEP is a community group dedicated to improving transportation in Somerville, MA. We advocate for the Green Line extension, a more livable city, and public health issues.
At the May 1 meeting of the GLX Community Working Group, the project team presented an update that included the following news:
- The overall design is approximately 15% complete.
- They shared new viaduct drawings near Lechmere and also Community Path renderings in the same area.
- Tree clearing will continue through the summer as construction begins in earnest.
- The Broadway Bridge in Ball Square will be closed Fall 2018 to Fall 2019.
- Washington St will be closed at the railroad bridge (between Joy and Tufts Streets) for about 11 months in 2019 and another 4-5 months in 2020. Washington St will be closed to all traffic including bikes and pedestrians.
“In the neighborhoods straddling Interstate 93 in Somerville, Massachusetts, residents know to keep their windows shut each weekday as commuters travel from Boston’s suburbs into the city, their cars spouting exhaust and other pollution that collects as soot on the sides of houses.
Infamous for its congested roads and rush-hour backups, traffic on I-93 creates significant air-quality and health challenges for residents living near the highway, many of whom are low-income and are more likely to get sick from the pollution exposure, but often can’t afford to move or protect their homes from the unnatural elements.”
START OF WORK: APRIL 2018
After years of community advocacy and planning, the GLX was given an official “Notice to Proceed” in December 2017, and work is already underway with completion expected by late 2021, which is a contractual obligation by the GLX contractors. The GLX contract team is currently mobilizing at each of the six station areas, and you will begin to see work happening in April around each of these station areas (Union Square, Washington Street, Gilman Square, Lowell Street, Ball Square, and College Ave. in Medford). Preliminary work throughout the month of April will include tree removal, digging test pits, and pest control. More significant construction is expected to begin in summer 2018. Note: you may start to see some larger equipment along the rail corridor beginning in the spring; however, this does not mean that excavation or major construction is beginning at that time. Arrival of equipment is part of the pre-construction preparation.
The MBTA has issued the Notice to Proceed to GLX Constructors, the joint venture it selected to complete the design and build the extension to Somerville and Medford, and the first $100 million in federal funds has been released.
“The Federal Transit Administration today informed the MBTA Green Line Extension (GLX) Project Team that it has released the first $100 million installment of the total approved $1 billion in federal funding for the 4.7-mile light rail line from Cambridge to Medford, marking another milestone for the project. With federal funding in place, the MBTA issued the Notice to Proceed to GLX Design-Build team, GLX Constructors.”
“Governor Charlie Baker’s commitment to responsibly manage taxpayer dollars in the building of this project was persuasive,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. “The region can now look forward to an enhanced transportation network as the Green Line is extended to serve tens of thousands of area residents daily.”
MassDOT recently updated the community on the possible extension of the Green Line from College Ave to Mystic Valley Parkway (Route 16). Specifically, they walked everyone through a Notice of Project Change (NPC), which describes potential environmental impacts. View the slides to see this additional project’s scope and information on noise and vibration, land use, transportation, and more.
Some points to consider:
The U-Haul building at this location does not need to be acquired (saving millions of dollars and also minimizing the environmental and neighborhood impacts of demolition) in order for a station to be added at Route 16. The MBTA can work with the building owner to repurpose the building for a higher and better use (housing, office, retail) that would complement the Green Line station. (See the great station plan from the Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance.)
Included in the scope of the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) should be the potential improvement to Mystic River water quality due to reduced auto trips/vehicle miles traveled, which translates into less tailpipe emission and fluid leaks falling to the streets and being carried into the river by stormwater.
Since the GLX Phase I bid came in $239 million under budget and all budget inflation risk is supposed to be borne by the design-build contractor, the $157 million that last year was reprogrammed for GLX Phase I might be reprogrammed back to GLX Phase 2 (Route 16 Station) and the cities of Somerville and Cambridge might no longer be required to make their $50 million and $25 million contributions to GLX Phase 1.
It’s official: Today the Fiscal and Management Control Board unanimously approved the recommendation to hire GLX Constructors to build the Green Line Extension! View the slides.
“Green Line extension contract officially approved” (Boston Globe)
“The award comes about two years after the board halted all progress on the project due to escalating costs that were projected to get as high as $3 billion. After the T made changes to the project’s station designs and the way the construction contract would be awarded, the agency now expects the total to costs $2.3 billion.”
Great news: GLX Constructors (a joint venture of several engineering and construction firms: website) submitted the winning $1.08 billion bid for the GLX design-build contract, coming in below the price limit and including all six of the “additive options”! That means the project will include:
- Platform canopies
- Additional elevators at select stations
- Public art
- A Community Path ramp to Chester Ave (by the cross Street Bridge)
- Construction of the Community Path “missing link” from Washington St to the North Point/Lechmere area!
- Enhanced MBTA maintenance facility
Thanks to all who have continued to fight for the Green Line and full Community Path! See some slides from the presentation.
Next steps: The contract must be approved by theFiscal and Management Control Board and MassDOT board before it is official.
Mayor Joe Curtatone’s statement: “This is a huge victory for Somerville, the region, and the Commonwealth. While there are still final steps to be taken before the apparent low bidder is officially chosen, we have a commitment that the Green Line will come to Somerville, and with it the full construction of the Community Path extension that our community has fought long and hard for. I want to thank Governor Baker, MassDOT, and the Fiscal Management Control Board for this well executed and thoughtful procurement process that incorporated input from more than fifteen years of a painstaking community process. Finally, thank you to all of our community activists for decades of work and action to make this project a reality.”
“MBTA names winning bidder for Green Line extension project” (Boston Globe)
“‘We could not have asked for a better outcome,’ said John Dalton, the project manager overseeing the rail expansion….GLX Constructors was chosen from two finalists. It had the lower of the two bids, but price was not the only factor: The winner was chosen based on who offered the best value while staying under an agency-mandated limit of $1.3 billion. The agency used a scorecard to rate the quality of the bids.”
“GLX constructors picked for Green Line design-build contract” (Cambridge Chronicle)
“With today’s price opening and the identification of the apparent successful design-build proposer for the GLX, we are truly on our way to making the Green Line Extension a reality for the people of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez. “The selection process was extensive and thorough, and we are pleased that the outcome is that the cost is under our Affordability Limit.”
“Great Green Line News – Senator Pat Jehlen” (Somerville Times)