By Ken Krause, MGNA
It doesn’t appear that Green Line Extension (GLX) project planning will get off to a fast start in the New Year.
Approval of a contract for the crucial next phase of the project does not appear on the agenda for the first MBTA/MassDOT board meeting of 2011, scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 5.
In October, the MBTA issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Preliminary Engineering, Project Oversight and Project Management for the project that would essentially complete the design of the stations and maintenance facility, the final step before construction can commence. Responses were due on Nov. 22, and project officials had said they hoped to presented a contract for board for approval in January. It appears that such approval will now have to wait until at least the February board meeting.
The RFP was issued after MassDOT last September withdrew a contract addendum that would have awarded to Preliminary Engineering work to a group led by Vanasse, Hangen, Brustlin, which had been responsible for the conducting the GLX Environmental Impact studies.
While negotiations for the preliminary engineering contract apparently remain ongoing, MassDOT is expected to release two important documents in January:
+ Responses to public comments on the 2010 Annual Status Report on the Green Line Extension and other State Implementation Plan transit projects, which was filed with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in July.
+ A petition to DEP to officially delay the project beyond the current Dec. 31, 2014 legal completion deadline, which will include a proposal for an interim offset project that will produce air quality benefits equal to those that would have been attained from the GLX. This project must be in place as of Dec. 31, 2014.
Most recent MassDOT planning documents show a projected completion date of October 1, 2015, for the Green Line Extension to College Avenue in Medford and Union Square in Somerville.
Also in January, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council is expected to kick off a year-long planning process for the proposed Green Line extension station at Mystic Valley Parkway on the Medford/Somerville line. MassDOT intends to build this station in a second phase of the extension project between 2016 and 2020.
Meanwhile, MassDOT has redesigned the GLX project website. The Calendar feature that was part of the old website has been removed, and the new website states that no public events currently are scheduled.
However, the GLX Design Working Group plans to hold a walk in the areas around the proposed Lowell Street and Gilman Street stations on Saturday, Jan. 8, at 10 a.m.