MGNA: Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance

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Green Line Extension project February status report

19 February, 2013 (22:40) | Documents, News | By: Editor

Here are highlights of the February status report on the Green Line Extension project as filed by MassDOT:

Phase I Construction
The MBTA issued a Notice to Proceed to Barletta Heavy Construction on January 31, 2013. The contractor will be introduced to the local residents and businesses at a community meeting, which will scheduled for March or April.

Phase I construction, which will be performed using the traditional Design-Bid-Build approach,   includes the widening of two railroad bridges to accommodate the additional Green Line tracks and the demolition of the MBTA tire storage building at 21 Water Street in the Lechmere area to provide parking and staging areas for the Phase 2/2A work. (Phase 2/2A will extend service from the new Lechmere Station to the Washington Street and Union Square stations and relocate the bus facility at Lechmere and the ongoing vehicle storage.)

Subsequent construction phases will use the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) approach, a project delivery method incorporating an integrated team approach to design and construction. Letters of Interest from firms wishing to provide CM/GC services were received on January 4, 2013, and CM/GC Qualification Statements are due in mid-February.

Design Progress/Outreach
The Program Management/Construction Management design studies (by HDR/Gilbane) have been completed and provided to the Advanced Preliminary Engineering/Final Design team (AECOM, et al.) for design direction. Of particular note, evaluation of drainage issues and solutions at Washington Street Station and the Red Bridge-Northpoint area; these alternatives were presented by the project team to the MBTA and a plan forward has been endorsed and direction given to the Design consultant.

The concept design for a relocated and repurposed second  entrance at Lechmere (it will now be both an exit and an entrance) has also been accepted and direction given to the design consultant to incorporate it into the design going forward.

Work is proceeding on revisions to the Ball Square station layout to resolve NStar and MWRA utility issues.

The project team has continued to meet and coordinate design issues with representatives from the three communities including:

+ January 28, 2013 meeting with the City of Somerville to review and discuss the station designs for Ball Square and Gilman Square

+ January 29, 2013 meeting with the City of Medford to review the Advanced Conceptual Design, the details of the Ball Square and College Avenue Stations and the Phase 1 work at Harvard Street

+ Meeting with the City of Somerville, the City of Cambridge and the Friends of the Community Path on issues associated with the design of the Path south of the Washington Street station

+ Coordination meeting with the Mass Historic Commission on the details of the viaduct demolition and the design of the replacement between Lechmere and Land Boulevard.

Real Estate
The GLX Relocation Plan, a document requiring approval by the Commonwealth and FTA before any business relocations can commence, has been prepared, reviewed and approved by the Commonwealth, and is now ready to be submitted to FTA. Schedules to implement the real estate acquisition process are being developed in conjunction with the MBTA’s Real Estate department and then will be incorporated into the overall program schedule.

Coordination meetings continue to be held with HYM and the City of Cambridge in regard to the Lechmere station and area around it, roadway designs and phasing plans. Coordination has also been ongoing with Archstone and the developer for 22 Water Street in this area.

Project Funding & Cost
MassDOT is pursuing federal funding through the competitive FTA New Starts program to support the design and construction of the Green Line Extension project.

On January 9, 2013, FTA published a Federal Register final rule establishing a new regulatory framework for FTA’s evaluation and rating of major transit capital investments seeking funding under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21) program. Under the New Starts/MAP-21 program rules the GLX is considered by FTA to have advanced into “Engineering.”

In order to submit the September 2013 update to FTA to initiate negotiations on a Full Funding Grant agreement which will solidify FTA’s financial participation in the project, the state must take concrete steps toward a long-term solution for the MBTA’s funding deficiency. Without progress on this issue, the New Starts negotiations cannot be initiated or completed, thus delaying the corresponding construction start dates. It is also highly probable that without substantial progress on the identification of new revenue sources and the completion of the financial plan, the FTA will decline providing financial assistance to the project all together.

In addition to federal funding, MassDOT and the MBTA plan to use Commonwealth funds to support the design and construction of the Green Line Extension project. These funds will be raised with the backing of authorizations made to support the SIP projects in Transportation Bond Bills of the past several years. At present, MassDOT has $624 million available in active Transportation Bond Bill authorizations for the SIP projects. This does not include the monies encumbered to support current projects.

The recently released MassDOT finance plan, “The Way Forward,” and the transportation funding proposals are included in the January 2013 Governor’s Budget submittal. If approved by the State legislature, this funding would provide the solution to the issues raised in the New Starts process with regard to funding.

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