Here are some notes from Wednesday night’s presentation by the Green Line Extension project team on the status of Phase I of the project:
+ Phase I includes the reconstruction of the rail bridge over Harvard Street in Medford and the rail bridge over Medford Street in Somerville, and the demolition of an MBTA building at 21 Water St. in Cambridge near the site of the new Lechmere Station.
+ Phase I is currently at about the 75% design stage. The goal is to reach 90% next month and 100% by the end of March, after which the Phase I work will be put out to bid, provided the project has received federal environmental (NEPA) approval.
+ The goal is to award a Phase I construction contract in summer, with work starting in the fall. It is estimated that the Phase I work will take 18 months to complete.
HARVARD STREET BRIDGE
+ The rail bridge over Harvard Street (near St. Clement’s School) will be reconstructed to make it wide enough to accommodate two additional tracks for Medford Branch Green Line service. The bridge currently carries two tracks used for Lowell commuter rail, Amtrak, and freight service.
+ Existing abutments can be used, as they were built to accommodate widening of the bridge.
+ New retaining walls will be built on the east side of the tracks, south to Winchester Place, with sound barriers on top of them where required by the GLX Environmental Impact Report (about 300 linear feet). Retaining walls and any required sound barriers on the west side of the tracks would not be built until Phase IV when the Green Line tracks are laid to College Avenue.
+ The combined retaining wall/sound barriers will range in height from about 22 feet at Harvard Street to about 8 to 10 feet approaching Ball Square.
+ Options for materials and other aesthetic qualities of the sound barriers will be presented to the public for input at future meetings.
+ The commuter rail tracks will be shifted east to their new permanent position during Phase I.
+ Flooding problems on Harvard Street will be addressed through the replacement of a 19th century, 24-inch water pipe that extends from Harvard Street to Granville Ave. with a 30-inch pipe, and by increasing the elevation of the bridge by about 1 foot, which will in turn allow the road surface to be similarly elevated.
+ These improvements will ease the flooding but not eliminate it; additional pipe work improvements are required on the Warner Road side of Boston Avenue, from which water drains east to the existing pipe at Harvard Street, and underneath Boston Ave. Working with the City of Medford, the project team plans to install a pipe under Boston Avenue near Granville Ave. that eventually would carry water from the west side of Boston Avenue out the new 30-inch pipe.
+ Medford City Engineer Cassandra Koutalidis attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of Mayor Michael McGlynn and Director of Community Development Lauren DiLorenzo. Koutalidis said, “We want to thank the T, HDR/Gilbane and all of the consultants for putting this presentation together. The mayor wanted to let you all know that he has met with the governor and discussed and worked with him on the phasing. We believe this is a very important project for Medford in terms of the design improvements that are being considered for Harvard Street bridge. The area floods significantly too many times and we note there’s a very large area of draining to this spot. We’re happy to see the 30-inch pipe and the roadway alignment rising up. We’d like the T to have a provision for another crossing under the tracks down near Winchester Court or Granville for the future to try to take some of the stormwater that all ends up at Harvard Street on another route. Consider putting that pipe in place across the tracks while you’re digging. Also, with some of the retaining walls and noise barriers at some dead-end streets, it would be worthwhile to talk about access, where you might be putting your manholes, and how we might gain access to them for maintenance or any other inspections that might be needed.”
MEDFORD STREET BRIDGE
+ The Medford Street rail bridge (near Target) will be widened to accommodate two additional tracks for Green Line service to Union Square. The bridge currently carries three tracks – two for Fitchburg commuter rail service, and one leading to the Boston Engine Terminal commuter rail maintenance facility.
+ The bridge will be expanded by the addition of two bays on either side and using the existing foundation, which was built to accommodate expansion.
+ Relocation of the commuter rail tracks and construction of retaining walls will not take place until Phase 2.
21 WATER STREET BUILDING
+ The building (near the Glass Factory condominiums) currently houses the MBTA tire shop. It must be removed because it sits in the footprint of the relocated Lechmere Station, specifically land that is to be used for the new bus facility and for North Point Boulevard.
+ During Phase 1, the surface area of the former building will be used as a staging area and for replacement parking that will be lost at the current Lechmere Station.
+ Demolition of the building is expected to take place from March to May 2013.
+ An effort will be made to maximize recycling of the demolished materials.
+ Work is expected to take place mostly between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays. Night and weekend work will be limited.
+ Two lanes of traffic on affected roads will be maintained during peak hours. At certain off-peak times, traffic will be reduced to one alternating lane of traffic.
+ Road closings will be limited to perhaps 4 to 6 total during Phase I and would all occur on weekends.
+ The project team is working with the cities on issues of traffic mitigation, road closures, etc. It also has been meeting individually with abutting property owners.
+ Once construction begins, a project hotline will be created for the public to call to get information. There also will be a project website and regular e-mail blasts with updates on the construction schedule and project status.
+ Wednesday, Feb. 8: Washington Street and Union Square station
+ Early March: Gilman and Lowell Street station
+ March/April: Ball Square and College Avenue station
+ March/April: Right-of-way, Noise, Vibration, Retaining Walls
+ April: Community Path (design currently is at 30%)
+ September: Phase I construction update
+ Fall: Public meeting with Phase I construction contractor
- Ken Krause
Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance