Below are some highlights from MassDOT’s latest status report on the Green Line Extension project, as delivered to the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization on Thursday, December 19.
Among the updates since the last report, issued in September, are:
• A slight delay in the anticipated application date for federal funding, due to postponement of a risk assessment workshop from November to January
• Extension of the Phase I construction schedule by 6 months to add 200 feet of retaining and noise wall work
• An estimated Phase 2/2A early construction start date of August 2014
• The property acquisition/relocation process for the maintenance and storage facility is delayed and behind schedule
• A second value engineering workshop resulted in an estimated $15.8 million in cost savings
During September/October, the GLX team developed and submitted a Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) New Starts Update and an updated GLX Project Finance Plan to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Upon review of this material by FTA, it is anticipated that the Project will be favorably rated, such that it will be included in the FY15 Federal budget. The Federal budget information is expected to be released in early February 2014 and is needed to support the filing of the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) application.
Filing date for the FFGA has been changed from February 2014 to mid-April 2014, due to postponement of a risk assessment workshop to late January 2014. The risk assessment workshop was rescheduled from November 2013 because certain cost estimate work was incomplete, due to design changes and “interpretation of foul time.” Uniform cost estimates are required for the Full Funding Grant Application.
The Design team submitted the Advanced Preliminary Engineering (APE) design package to the Program Manager/Construction Manager (PM/CM) in early September. The Design team and the PM/CM have now finalized the scope, schedule and budget for final design of the early construction packages and the advancement of design for the remainder of the Program elements.
The timeframe for FTA approval of Advance Work approval is 3 to 6 months (instead of the 3 months the GLX team had been carrying in the Project schedule). Thus, the GLX team has adjusted their Program schedule to divide the design and construction packages into those requiring FTA approval and those that can proceed apart from additional FTA approval, such as long lead and regional third party utility work.
The Project team’s goal is to have the construction documents completed to allow commencement of bidding and construction of the long lead and early utility packages in May/June 2014, and have the design of the elements requiring Advance Work approval by FTA completed in May to support start of construction in August 2014.
The Phase 2/2A Balance of Work package is expected to reach the 90% Design stage by July 2014 and ready for bid by late 2014, ahead of the anticipated FFGA execution.
In September 2013, the MassDOT Board approved the transfer of $393 million from MassDOT to MBTA and for the MBTA to award Interim Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) contracts up to this amount to the Construction Manager/General Contractor for the construction of the Phase 2/2A scope (Lechmere to Washington and Union) and early utility relocations at three bridges which are part of the Phase 4 construction.
The CM/GC is reviewing the Project design documents and the Program schedule, and is moving forward with the estimating process based on the Advanced Preliminary Engineer (APE) design package submittal. The CM/GC also initiated a formal system referred to as the DART (Decision Analysis Resolution Team) for submitting design change suggestions with their anticipated beneficial cost and schedule implications. As part of the work process, an integrated work group reviews the individual DARTs and recommends selected DARTs to a Senior Decision Group of MBTA, PM/CM, CM/GC and Design team members.
MassDOT and MBTA are implementing a phased project delivery plan which has divided the project into four phases, which will be further divided into design and interim GMP construction work packages.
Phase 1 Early Bridge/Demolition (Widen Harvard Street rail bridge in Medford, Medford Street rail bridge in Somerville, and demolish MBTA storage building in Cambridge)
The MBTA is adding to the contract some 200 feet of additional retaining and noise wall work that had been programmed for Phase 4. By constructing this work under the Phase 1 contract, this retaining/noise wall should be completed in time to support and facilitate construction once Phase 4 is underway. The addition of this work will extend the end date of the Phase 1 contract by six to eight months.
Phase 2/2A (Lechmere, Washington Street, Union Square stations)
MBTA’s construction phasing plans are developed so as to complete construction in time to permit start-up of this portion of the GLX in mid-2017. This schedule assumes that certain work activities are approved by FTA to advance in the summer of 2014 ahead of the FFGA approval.
Phase 3 (Vehicle Storage and Maintenance Facility)
The current Program schedule for this activity is getting tighter, as FTA approval is needed in order to start the property acquisition and relocation activities (described earlier) critical to start of construction. This acquisition/relocation process was anticipated start this month and completed by the end of 2015. However, at this time, the process is stalled and waiting for FTA approval.
Phase 4 (Gilman Square, Lowell Street, Ball Square, College Avenue stations)
Currently targeted to be completed by the end of July 2019. An updated risk evaluation process, based on the APE design submittal, will be conducted in January 2014, and will be used to confirm or adjust the schedule for this work.
At this time, this schedule for overall Project completion remains in effect; however, it is being reviewed by the CM/GC and will be further evaluated as part of the FTA Risk Workshop. Any revisions to the schedule will be included in the New Starts application for the FFGA expected to be filed early in the second quarter of 2014.
Property needs have been prioritized by phase and sequence of GMP package and schedule development to track progress. The Project schedule is very tight with some real estate activities behind schedule. Survey, title and environmental assessment activities are ongoing. The appraisal and relocation plans and estimate for the current occupants of the Vehicle Storage and Maintenance Facility (VSMF) site was developed and submitted to the FTA for review. FTA approval is needed for the MBTA to make an offer; this was anticipated in October, but has not been received. The Project team anticipates that an offer can be made shortly after FTA approval to the property owners on this site.
The FTA has reviewed and commented on the GLX Relocation Plan and was reviewing the initial approvals and relocation estimates for certain properties located at the VSMF at the time of the partial government shutdown. MBTA Real Estate had expected to make these offers in October, a date which has slipped as the Project team works to get FTA approval to proceed. Approval is expected in December of this year.
The Pan Am Railways agreement completed in March 2011 included provisions allowing the Commonwealth to acquire land and tracks vital to the construction of the Project. The date for the formal closing on this agreement has been pushed back a number of times but was finally accomplished in November. This closing was needed to allow Phase 2/2A construction to proceed.
The team is negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Somerville to have the Project demolish the existing Homans building and use the site to support construction at the Medford Street Bridge and for the construction of Gilman Square Station and other project elements in that area. The draft MOU has been sent back to the City to be revised to match the verbal discussions.
A second value engineering workshop was held the week of September 16-20, 2013 using the Advance Preliminary Engineering design document as the basis to further explore options to reduce costs without compromising the project scope or its benefits. The Project team evaluated the recommendations produced from the workshop along with other CM/GC generated ideas. The MBTA Value Engineering Review Committee met on October 25, 2013 and approved the final recommendations totaling approximately $15.8M in savings.
NEW GREEN LINE VEHICLES
Procurement of 24 new Green Line vehicles needed to support the operation of the Green Line Extension is ongoing. In March 2013, the MBTA requested the two proposing teams to update and re-submit their proposals as a Best and Final Offer to the MBTA; these were received in September 2013. A MassDOT Board decision is anticipated at their March/April 2014 meeting, with a Notice to Proceed anticipated to be issued in May 2014.
Design Working Group meetings were held in October. Planning is underway for a new set of workshops to be held in January/February to coordinate on retaining wall and noise wall design elements of the APE package. The Project team is also scheduling working meetings with the members of the Glass Factory Condominium Board and the residents of Brickbottom.
INTERIM EMISSION REDUCTION OFFSET PROJECTS
The timeline for overall Project completion represents a substantial delay beyond the current legal deadline of December 31, 2014, triggering the need to provide interim emission reduction offset projects and measures for the period of the delay (beginning January 1, 2015). A final portfolio of interim mitigation measures to implement by December 31, 2014 were submitted to DEP and released for final public review in October 2013. MassDOT is working to receive the final approval.
– Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance