Updates on the Green Line shared in Medford public meeting

  • Post category:Green Line
Thanks to Ken Krause for these notes from the Green Line Extension project update meeting held on Wednesday, June 21, at Medford City Hall. You can also view the slides.



John Dalton, Program Manager for the GLX, gave a brief overview on the status of the project, which will consist of seven stations – a relocated Lechmere Station, plus five stations on the Medford Branch and one station on the Union Square Branch; an extension of the Somerville Community Path from its current terminus at Lowell Street to East Somerville Station (Washington Street); and a vehicle maintenance facility in Somerville (adjacent to the Boston Engine Terminal commuter rail maintenance facility).


The process is underway to hire a team that will design and build the GLX. Three teams of companies (GLX Constructors, Green Line Partners, and Walsh Barletta Granite JV) have been selected to submit proposals, which are due on Sept. 28, 2017. The MBTA plans to award a contract to one of them in February 2018. Construction is likely to begin in the summer of 2018, with Green Line service expected to start by Dec. 10, 2021.

Dalton explained the design-build procurement method has having an advantage over the conventional design-bid-build process in that that designer/builder is the same entity. This compresses the process and reduces conflict.


The companies bidding on the GLX work must present a plan that meets all requirements of the scope of the project, stays within the budget of $2.289 billion, and completes the project on time. However, the bidders may include in their proposals up to six priority items that were removed from the project when it was scaled back in 2015-16 to reduce a budget overage – provided that they do not jeopardize the project schedule or budget.

The six potential additive options are:

1. Platform canopies

2. Additional elevators at select stations

3. Public art

4. Additional connections to the Somerville Community Path on Chester Street

5. Extension of the Somerville Community Path from East Somerville to Lechmere

6. Enhancements to the vehicle maintenance facility

Dalton said these items were given priority (from an original list of about 15) based on three criteria: 1) Green Line riders; 2) Adjacent neighborhoods; 3) Green Line operations. He also pointed out that the items must be added in order of the MBTA’s priority (that is, platform canopies first, additional elevators second, etc.).


A GLX Communications Working Group will be established to facilitate the exchange of information and feedback about things such as work schedules and community impacts. Initially the working group will consist of stakeholders and GLX staff; later, representatives of the design-build team would be added.


Randy Henke of GLX contractor HNTB presented an overview of the work being done on the Lowell commuter rail line in preparation for the resumption of work on the GLX. This consists of installing a new “interlocking” or track switches near the College Avenue Station in Medford, and track work near the Grand Junction branch in Somerville. The interlocking allows the commuter rail, Amtrak, freight, and MBTA construction trains to switch tracks, in either direction, as needed (usually during construction or track maintenance work). There also will be a signal house added north of College Avenue for guiding commuter rail trains.

Other work includes excavation and installation of temporary retaining walls, relocating and adding vibration-reducing ballast mats to the commuter rail tracks, and conduit and utility work.

Q & A

+ At the May 31 meeting for College Avenue Station abutters, residents and city officials raised concerns about a proposed plan for routes to transport construction excavation and other materials potentially including residential streets (particularly Princeton and Bowdoin in South Medford). Dalton said those streets will not be used by heavy equipment vehicles, and that the excavated material will be removed via College Avenue.

+ Throughout the project, the MBTA has said that the Union Square Station would be designed so as to not preclude the potential future extension of the Green Line to Porter Square (where it would connect with the Red Line), similar to how the College Avenue Station will be designed so as to not preclude future extension of the Medford Branch to a Route 16 Station. Dalton said he was not aware of that provision being included in the RFP, but that it was included with regard to College Avenue Station/Route 16.

+ Dalton said the plan is for the GLX to have two openings when service begins, one for the Union Square Branch, and one for the stations on the Medford Branch; both are required to be complete by Dec. 10, 2021.

+ Other questions/comments were related to potential mitigation for the tree removal that has occurred behind streets near the College Avenue Station, which has made conditions hotter and louder than when the trees were present; support for the inclusion of public art at the stations; and interest in the public’s ability to comment on the proposals that will be submitted by the design-build firm candidates, as well as their station design elements.


Joe Nolan of City Point Partners, stakeholder relations coordinator, said a project update meeting similar to this one also is going to be presented in Somerville (details to be announced).

In the meantime, visit the project website, www.greenlineextension.org, for the latest project information. The PowerPoint presentation from this meeting is expected to be posted by the end of the week; the presentation from the May 31 abutters meeting is available on this page: http://greenlineextension.org/const…

To contact the project team or sign up for email updates, email info@glxinfo.com or call the GLX Hotline at 1-855-GLX-INFO.