MASSDOT/MBTA PROVIDE UPDATE ON TRANSIT PROJECTS IN A FILING WITH STATE

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 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2011
CONTACT:
Joe Pesaturo
[email protected]
MASSDOT/MBTA PROVIDE UPDATE ON TRANSIT
PROJECTS IN A FILING WITH STATE
ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICIALS
In a report submitted today to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), in
conjunction with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
presented an updated timeline for the complex project to extend the Green Line
north of Lechmere Station. The Green Line extension is one of the public transit
projects required under the amended State Implementation Plan, and the report
filed today provides status information on each of those projects, which are
required to be built by the Commonwealth as air quality mitigation measures for
the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel.
GREEN LINE EXTENSION TO SOMERVILLE AND MEDFORD
Over the past four months, the Green Line Extension project team performed a
cost and schedule analysis that thoroughly examined all aspects of the project and
the actions required to move it forward expeditiously. As a result of this analysis,
the projections for the Green Line Extension project have been refined. Under the
revised timeframe, passenger service would begin no earlier than the fall of 2018
and no later than the summer of 2020. The schedule is contingent on the MBTA
taking full ownership of property required for construction. Benefitting from lessons
learned on the Greenbush Commuter Rail project, in which the MBTA did not take
ownership of needed properties until after the Design/Build process began, the
Green Line project team aims to prevent the issues that cost the MBTA both time
and money.
Seeking to accelerate the timeline where possible, MassDOT and the MBTA are
actively considering strategies that could mitigate schedule impacts and improve
upon the dates for passenger service on the Green Line Extension. The strategies
under consideration include the development of a ‘phasing’ scenario that would
allow for some stations to open for public use while others are still being
constructed.
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Ten Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116
www.mbta.com
In addition, the MBTA plans to request a ‘Letter of No Prejudice’ from the Federal
Transit Administration. This could allow the project to move forward more quickly
while still preserving the potential to seek federal reimbursement for state money
used to advance the project.
In the meantime, progress continues to be made.
Environmental review documents, submitted to the Federal Transit
Administration, will be released this year upon FTA approval. MassDOT hopes to
receive a Finding of No Significant Impact from the FTA for the Green Line
Extension project this fall.
A new Program Management/Construction Management/Preliminary
Engineering technical team is currently working under an initial contract to perform
Advanced Conceptual Engineering, which will lead to Preliminary Engineering and
then to the initiation of procurement of a Design-Build team to complete the design
and start construction.
MassDOT and the MBTA continue to work with the FTA to seek funding for
the Green Line Extension project under the FTA New Starts capital funding
program.
The procurement of 24 new Green Line vehicles needed to support the
operation of the Green Lin Extension is now underway.
FAIRMOUNT LINE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
All of the necessary upgrades to interlocking and signal systems along the
Fairmount Line have been completed and are currently in use, allowing for the
reconstruction of structurally deficient bridges, three of which (Columbia Road,
Quincy Street, and Massachusetts Avenue) have already been completed. The
design of the Talbot Avenue, Woodrow Avenue, and Neponset River bridges is
completed and construction is beginning. Work is also well underway to replace
three bridges over the Neponset River.
The reconstruction of stations at Uphams Corner and Morton Street is finished and
a new Four Corners Station is more than 2/3 complete. Much progress is being
made in the construction of the Talbot Avenue and Newmarket Stations, with
substantial completion dates set for late 2012.
Because of the continuing debate over the best location for the proposed Blue Hill
Avenue Station, the completion date for the station project remains uncertain at
this time. MassDOT planners continue to work closely with the neighborhood to
find a solution.
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Ten Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116
www.mbta.com
CONSTRUCTION OF 1,000 NEW PARKING SPACES
As part of development of residential, retail, office, and hotel space on a portion of
the existing surface parking lots at Wonderland Station, the developer is building
for the MBTA a new 1,465-car parking garage to not only replace the parking lost
due to the development but also to increase overall transit parking supply. This
project will result in 612 net new transit spaces. The construction schedule
anticipates substantial completion by the end March 2012, with final completion in
June of 2012.
With 392 new spaces now available, and the construction of the new Wonderland
Station garage 50% complete, it is anticipated that MassDOT will complete this
SIP commitment of 1,000 new parking spaces, but not before the December 31,
2011 deadline. Therefore, MassDOT will prepare a Petition to Delay and an
Interim Emission Offset Plan, to be implemented for the duration of the delay.
RED LINE/BLUE LINE CONNECTOR - DESIGN
As part of the environmental review and conceptual design process, MassDOT
determined that the ultimate construction costs for the Red Line/Blue Line
Connector project will be significantly higher than the initial projections of $290
million. The current best estimate has the project’s price tag approaching $750
million. With final design costs continue to escalate and an inability to identify any
funding to construct the Red Line/Blue Line Connector at any point in the next 20
years, MassDOT does not believe that continuing to advance this idea is a prudent
use of public funds. Initiating a process to amend the SIP to permanently remove
the obligation to perform final design, MassDOT will work with DEP and with the
general public on the amendment process.
“We look forward to continuing to work with all of the stakeholders to complete the
Green Line extension, Fairmount Line improvements and the parking space
commitments,” said MassDOT Rail & Transit Administrator Richard Davey, who
also serves as the MBTA’s General Manager. “These projects offer environmental
and economic benefits that will serve the Commonwealth well for many decades to
come,” said Davey.
The complete report can be reviewed here:
http://www.eot.state.ma.us/downloads/sip/SIP_AnnualRpt2011.pdf
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Ten Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116
www.mbta.com
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