MGNA: Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance

Information about our green line extension.

Month: July, 2012

Green Line Extension construction, design to advance this fall

31 July, 2012 (22:43) | News | By: Editor

Groundbreaking for Phase I construction of the Green Line Extension (GLX), and the hiring of a new team to complete engineering and design work are among the milestones anticipated for the project this fall, according to a report released this month by MassDOT and the MBTA.

Each July, MassDOT is required to submit to the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) an Annual Status Report on the transit projects that the state committed to build as a condition of DEP approving the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel highway project (a k a the Big Dig). The Green Line Extension to Somerville and Medford is one of two of those transit commitments that remain unfinished; the other is improvements to the Fairmount commuter rail line.

As anticipated in the Annual Status Report, dated July 2, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) informed MassDOT on July 6 that the GLX had cleared all federal-level environmental reviews, allowed Phase I of the project to go out to bid. That work will entail the widening of two rail bridges, one in Medford and one in Somerville, to accommodate the addition of Green Line tracks, and demolition of an MBTA tire storage building in Cambridge, near the site of the relocated Lechmere Station. Bids on the Phase I work are due on August 21.

In June, FTA had given the MBTA approval for the GLX project to enter Preliminary Engineering, and late that month a new consultant team was selected to complete Advanced Preliminary Engineering and Final Design of the project. Approval of the contract by the MBTA board of directors is expected in September.

To this point, the current consultant team led by HDR/Gilbane has been performing work on Advanced Conceptual Design, including for bridges and stations, and development of project phasing and sequencing plans, among other project elements. HDR/Gilbane, also the project management consultant, is under contract to continue its work through August 2013.

Other GLX milestones anticipated this summer/fall are:

+ Approval by the State Inspector General of a Construction Manager/General Contractor project delivery method, which GLX officials submit will be faster and more efficient than a traditional Design/Bid/Build approach. The use of CM/GC on the GLX was approved by the state legislature and by the governor in June.

+ MBTA board approval of a contract with the company chosen to supply the 24 new Green Line vehicles that will support the extension.

+ Acceleration of the real estate acquisition process, where property is needed

While clarity is growing around many the details of constructing the Green Line Extension, the Annual Report noted that much work remains to be done with regard to financing it. The state legislature has authorized funds for about half of the $1.3 billion project in Transportation Bond Bills, with MassDOT intending to apply for federal funding to cover the balance of the cost.

But while the FTA has declared that the GLX is eligible to apply for federal funding through the competitive New Starts program, the state must present a funding mechanism for the MBTA that would solve the agency’s annual structural deficit to merit serious consideration. In its application to the FTA for Preliminary Engineering approval, MassDOT identified some hypothetical funding solutions for the MBTA. But in the Annual Report, it asserted: “Massachusetts must move from hypothetical proposals to concrete steps for a long-term fix for the MBTA. Without this progress, it is virtually certain the FTA will decline providing financial assistance to the project.”

The Annual Status Report is available on the MassDOT website.

Public comments are invited, with a submission deadline of Thursday, September 13. In addition, on Thursday, September 6, MassDEP will hold two sessions for the public to submit oral testimony. These will take place at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the MassDEP office, One Winter Street, Boston.

Written testimony must be submitted to:

Kate Fichter (
MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning
Room 4150, Ten Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116


Jerome Grafe (
MassDEP Bureau of Waste Prevention
One Winter Street
Boston, MA 02018

– Ken Krause, MGNA

State seeks input on GreenDOT implementation plan

30 July, 2012 (21:43) | News | By: Editor

Marking the two-year anniversary of the adoption of its GreenDOT Policy, MassDOT is seeking public comment on its Draft GreenDOT Implementation Plan. This Plan was developed to serve as the framework for embedding the sustainability principles of GreenDOT into the core business and culture of MassDOT and centers on 15 sustainability goals organized under seven themes: Air; Energy; Land; Materials; Planning, Policy & Design; Waste; and Water.

According to GreenDOT, MassDOT is committed to increased investment in and access to a multi-modal transportation system to provide more and healthier travel options. MassDOT will be setting a mode shift target in 2012 to increase transit, biking, walking, and carpooling.

A strong commitment to improving access to transit, as well as the networks and connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists, is central to MassDOT’s transportation vision, as embedded in GreenDOT and the Healthy Transportation Compact.

Among the transit, bicycle and pedestrian initiatives in the Plan are to:

– Encourage walking, bicycling, and transit as active transportation
– Promote eco-driving and programs to reduce reliance on single occupancy vehicles
– Establish a “Transit First” policy and establish mode shift goal
– Double the miles of bike facilities across the Commonwealth
– Upgrade bicycle and pedestrian facilities across all bridge projects
– Provide bicycle and pedestrian planning and design assistance to municipalities
– Add and expand bike sharing programs
– Prioritize funding for critical pedestrian and bicycle network gaps
– Provide funding for construction and maintenance of shared use paths

The public can review the Plan and submit a comment via an online form on the MassDOT website.

The deadline to comment is Thursday, August 2.

Bids sought for initial Green Line Extension work

16 July, 2012 (06:24) | News | By: Editor

The MBTA today began to solicit bids for Phase I of the Green Line Extension project with an advertisement in the Boston Globe.

Phase I, scheduled to being late this year or early next year, will consist of three elements:

+ In South Medford, reconstructing and widening the railroad bridge over Harvard Street to accommodate the Medford Branch extension. Work includes relocating the commuter rail tracks, building retaining walls/noise barriers, and performing ancillary utility and roadway improvements

+ In Somerville, widening of the railroad bridge over Medford Street, which currently carries the Fitchburg commuter rail tracks. This bridge will carry the Union Square branch Green Line tracks.

+ In Cambridge, demolition of the MBTA tire facility building at 21 Water Street. This property will be used for staging and parking during later phases of construction.

Estimated cost of the Phase I work is $18.3 million — $15.3 million for the two bridges, and $3 million for the building demolition.

Bidding documents will be available at the Contract Administration Office (Room 6720, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston) on Wednesday, July 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A pre-bid conference will be held at the Green Line Extension Project Office, 155 Federal St., Suite 304, Boston on Thursday, July 26, and 2 p.m.

Bids are due at the Contract Administration office at 2 p.m. on August 21, at which time they will be opened and read publicly.

The notice to bidders is available on the MBTA website.

An overview of the elements of the Phase I construction can be found on the project website.