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On the Trans Blog
Accelerated Bridge Program: Medford I-93 Bridges

MassDOT in summer 2011 will replace 14 bridge superstructures on I-93 in Medford as part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic 8-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program.

The project will replace the bridge structures with work performed only on weekends in June, July and August, except for the 4th of July. This accelerated schedule will avoid weekday rush-hour traffic to reduce the impact on travelers and communities. MassDOT is using innovative engineering and construction techniques to reduce the construction timeline. Community and stakeholder outreach is ongoing to inform affected communities, businesses, and residents about the work.

A project website is available with a map, links and other information. Learn more on the MassDOT website in the I-93 Fast 14 section.

Boston Dorchester Avenue Work to Resume

With spring approaching, MassDOT contractors are resuming work at several locations as part of the $15.6 million Dorchester Avenue project in Boston, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Learn more at the MassDOT Dorchester Avenue Project on the web. An update is sent via email to the community and added to project website every two weeks highlighting a general description of work locations, activities and hours.

The Road to Reform

MBTA: New Lechmere Station Spurs Development

MassDOT announced that a land exchange agreement has been approved to facilitate extending the Green Line north of Lechmere Station to Somerville and Medford, while also advancing the NorthPoint mixed-use development project. The agreement between the MBTA and Pan Am Railways approved by the MassDOT Board of Directors allows for construction of a new Lechmere Station on the east side of O'Brien Highway in East Cambridge across from the current station location. The project will lead to new jobs and economic development for the area.

The MBTA is also obtaining crucial track and property rights necessary for MassDOT and the MBTA to build and operate the Green Line Extension, among other projects. In exchange for granting those rights to the MBTA, Pan Am is acquiring the property on which the existing Lechmere Station is located.

Pan Am and development partners The HYM Investment Group are moving forward with the adjacent NorthPoint project, a mixed-use development of 2,800 residential units, more than two million square feet of office space, and 185,000 square feet of retail. HYM and Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds joined with Atlas Capital Group last year to develop the 44-acre property, the largest remaining parcel of open land in Cambridge. The former Pan Am rail yard is located across the Charles River from Massachusetts General Hospital and within walking distance of Kendall Square.

Among the key elements of the newly-approved agreement, the MBTA and MassDOT will receive:

  • All of the trackage and property rights necessary to build and operate the Green Line Extension, which have a combined value of $12.5 million. In addition to this real value, these rights provide a $5.5 million savings for MassDOT and the MBTA, which had expected to pay $18 million for these rights.
  • Trackage rights off the Worcester Main Line to allow potential future passenger service from Worcester to Ayer. This will provide a connection between the Worcester and Fitchburg Commuter Rail Lines, and a potential future connection to North Station.
  • Trackage rights to provide future passenger service to New Hampshire. This would allow for the extension of MBTA Commuter Rail service from Lowell to Concord, NH through Nashua and Manchester. That project would ultimately be sponsored and funded by the State of New Hampshire, similar to current Commuter Rail service to Rhode Island.
  • While not part of the Land Exchange Agreement, Pan Am has agreed to assume costs associated with the required street and sidewalk improvements in the Lechmere area. The Green Line Extension project and the Commonwealth were planning to absorb this $9 million expense, which may now be deducted from the project's total cost.

The trackage rights have a combined value of $30.7 million. As consideration for receiving these rights from Pan Am, MassDOT and the MBTA will convey the site of the existing Lechmere Station to Pan Am, following the completion of the new Lechmere Station.

For more information visit the Green Line Extension website.

Lowell I-495 Bridge Bundle Progress

The I-495 Bridge Bundle project in Lowell and Tewksbury is moving into later stages of construction this spring. The $36.8 million innovative "Design-Build" project is funded by the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic eight-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program to repair or replace structurally-deficient bridges.

The work begun in 2009 includes complete replacement or reconstruction of the bridges that carry I-495 over the Concord River, the MBTA Railroad and Woburn Street in Lowell. As a "design-build" project, the design team headed by The Middlesex Corporation is responsible for bringing the work through the design phase to completion of construction.

As of the end of February, work continues on all three bridge sites. Motorists are reminded that the southbound on-ramp from Woburn Street is closed and a detour in effect; temporary traffic signals are in place at both the north and southbound ramps to ensure the efficient flow of detoured traffic.

During the weekend of February 19-20, precast deck panels were installed on the new section of Concord River Bridge, left. Next steps include grouting the joints between panels to create a solid slab. The second half of this bridge will also be built using precast panels.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-summer of 2011. Visit the Lowell Bridge Bundle project website for the latest information.

MBTA: Fire Prevention Campaign

MBTA General Manager Rich Davey joined Boston Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser this week at the Downtown Crossing Station to launch a Subway Fire Prevention Campaign. The T's fire prevention public education campaign includes newly-designed signs that draw attention to the service problems and potential hazards created when trash and litter ignite on subway tracks. The subway fire prevention awareness campaign promotes the collaborative effort of state and local agencies in working together to educate customers about disposing of trash in receptacles available at all T stations. Litter can easily be ignited by a spark, resulting in a trash fire and train delays. There are approximately 10 to 15 subway fires each year that interrupt service and in some cases cause a station evacuation.

MassDOT April Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next regular public business meeting on Wednesday, April 6, 1:00pm, MBTA Board Room, Suite 3910, State Transportation Building, Boston.

The MBTA Board will meet first at 1pm, followed by the MassDOT Board. All meetings are open to the public.

The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.