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Governor Charlie Baker

MassDOT March
Board Meeting

March 16
Transportation Building
10 Park Plaza
Suite 3830
Boston, MA 02150
Full Meeting Schedule

On the MassDOT Blog

Springfield: I-91 Viaduct Project
Public Meeting Scheduled

MassDOT has scheduled a Public Information Meeting for the I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project in Springfield as follows:

Tuesday, March 15
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Basketball Hall of Fame
1000 Hall of Fame Avenue

Please join MassDOT at a public information meeting for an update on the major construction and demolition activities on the I-91 Viaduct. The project team will provide details on the construction and demolition progress to date, existing lane and ramp closures, and detour routes. The presentation will conclude with a question and answer session.

MassDOT is undertaking the Interstate 91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project to replace the existing deck of the bridge, which is in poor condition. The project is the result of several years of planning and valuable input from a wide variety of stakeholders. It will progress on an accelerated schedule to reduce traffic impacts and minimize construction duration. The project will reduce annual maintenance costs, increase safety and accessibility on this busy interstate, and ensure long-term serviceability.

For more information, visit the project website.

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March 4

Green Line Extension Project Public Meetings Set

MassDOT and the MBTA this week held the first in a series of public meetings to consider the future of the proposed Green Line Extension and invite the public to share their ideas about the project.

The GLX project is proposed to extend the MBTA Green Line from a relocated Lechmere Station in East Cambridge to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford. The re-evaluation of the project was launched due to significant cost overruns, and the re-evaluation is expected to be completed and submitted to the T’s Fiscal & Management Control Board in May.

The following is the schedule of remaining public meetings:

Wednesday, March 23rd:
Open House: 5:30pm-6:30pm
Presentation and Q&A: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Tufts University, 51 Winthrop Street – Medford

Wednesday, April 13th:
Open House: 5:30pm-6:30pm
Presentation and Q&A: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Argenziano School, 290 Washington Street – Somerville

Wednesday, April 27th:
Open House: 5:30pm-6:30pm
Presentation and Q&A: 6:30pm-8:00pm
St. Anthony's Parish Hall, 400 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue – Cambridge

Thursday, May 5th:
Open House: 5:30pm-6:30pm
Presentation and Q&A: 6:30pm-8:00pm
St. Clement's Parish Hall, 579 Boston Avenue - Medford

MassDOT and the MBTA are currently working through a re-evaluation of the Green Line Extension project, focusing on four key areas:

  • Project Management
  • Redesign
  • Re-procurement
  • Development of a reliable cost estimate and schedule

Review goals include revising the project schedule and design elements, with reduced capital and overall costs, and new procurement method recommendations. Physical elements of the project under reconsideration include reduced station designs, redesign of vehicle maintenance facility, reconsidering community path options, construction work hour limitations, power signals and retaining and sound walls.

Learn more about the project by visiting the Green Line Extension website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at

MBTA: Progress in Cutting Expenses

MBTA rail line signal dating back to 1915. Investments in upgrading aging technology will be aided by savings in the T’s operating budget.

The MBTA expects to cut its projected fiscal 2017 operating deficit by 43 percent, the direct result of continued reductions in overtime spending and other costs, and increases in revenue such as real estate and advertising. T officials offered detail about the authority’s improving fiscal status during a meeting of its Fiscal Management and Control Board.

The T previously announced it would be $75 million under budget by the close of the 2016 fiscal year. The operating budget recast for FY17 projects a deficit of $138 million, which is 43 percent lower than the $242 million originally forecast. That amounts to $104 million in savings.

That amounts to $104 million in savings.

The revised estimate can be attributed to approximately 75 percent in lowered expenses and 25 percent in improved revenues. "We're getting our cost growth under control," said MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve.

Savings in operating expenses will be used to pay for much-needed infrastructure improvements:

  • $26.5 million for more Winter Resiliency Work
  • New third rail for the Red Line
  • New heaters for the switches and third rail on the Orange Line
  • $3.5 million for track upgrades along the Worcester/Framingham Commuter Rail Line
  • $70 million for major signal improvements on the Green, Red and Orange Lines

Such upgrading of aging and outdated infrastructure is critical. Some switches on the Green Line, for example, date back to 1915. Up to 30 percent of subway service delays are directly related to problems with aging signal systems.

"Every dollar that we can free up in operating expense is invested back into the system, helping us improve the level of service reliability," said MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola.

DePaola said the $26 million Winter Resiliency II project will finish work that began prior to this winter season.

Built into the FY17 budget projections are significant new expenses caused by shifting 550 employees from The T's debt-funded capital budget to the operating budget ($52 million), and scheduled union wage increases for employees ($12.5 million), as well as higher debt service payments ($13 million), pension and other non-wage operating expenses.

MassDOT Announces I-90/Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project Schedule Update

MassDOT announced today that due to design errors on the part of Walsh Construction’s engineering firm HDR Inc., Walsh will be unable to meet the dates established for the 2016 closure phase and there is a new project schedule for the I-90/Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project.

The first closure phase is now scheduled to occur in 2017. As a result, this June MassDOT will increase the number of travel lanes in each direction at the project site from three lanes to four on I-90.

The Commonwealth Avenue Superstructure Replacement Project involves the replacement of the existing bridge which carries Commonwealth Avenue and the MBTA Green Line (Line B) over the MBTA Commuter Rail Line and over I-90, (the Massachusetts Turnpike). Last year, Walsh Construction Company was awarded the contract with a bid of $81.8 million and was given notice to proceed in June 2015.

This past January, MassDOT was notified by Walsh Construction that design errors on the part of their engineering firm of HDR Inc., have resulted in fabrication delays, and Walsh Construction would be unable to meet the dates established for the 2016 closure phase.

In a statement about this postponement, Walsh Construction said, "During the final bridge design quality control checks, two issues related to the design of the new structural steel girders were encountered that required revision and modification to the final steel girder design. As a result, the fabrication of the new steel girders is not able to be conducted as originally contemplated to meet a shutdown in the summer of 2016. However, in conjunction with MassDOT and our designer, we have resolved these issues and look forward to successfully completing the first phase of the project in the summer of 2017."

The contract with Walsh Construction called for restricted closure durations for each impacted transportation facility: 18 ½ days for Green Line, 17 ½ days for Commonwealth Ave, 9 ½ days for the I-90 crossover, and 49 hours for commuter rail. The contract required these closures to take place sometime within two closure windows: July 21, 2016 – August 29, 2016 and July 27, 2017 – August 28, 2017. These dates were originally chosen because the Boston Red Sox would be out of town, Boston University would not be in session, and because data revealed that traffic volumes are approximately 15% lower in the summer months compared with the fall.

MassDOT has decided to postpone the two closure phases of the project by one year to July and August of 2017 and 2018, respectively. Walsh Construction will forfeit the $7.2 million incentive tied to successful completion of the 2016 closure phase.

The postponement means I-90 drivers will see some short-term traffic relief. MassDOT is currently in the process of reconstructing the I-90 median in the vicinity of Commonwealth Avenue, which included performing advanced work for the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project. This project has required reducing I-90 from four travel lanes to three. Under the previous schedule this three lane configuration would have been maintained until the beginning of the first shutdown in August 2016.

Due to postponement, I-90 will be opened back to four lanes as of June 30, 2016 and remain four lanes until the beginning of the first shutdown now rescheduled for July 2017. Traffic will be reduced from four lanes in both directions to two lanes in both directions during July 2017 and August 2017.

Due to the postponement, the 2016/2017 shutdown dates and final completion date will be shifted back one year.

Andover: Route 28 Bridge Replacement Moves Forward

MassDOT Highway Division contractors will replace the bridge located on Route 28 (North Main Street) near the intersection of Railroad Street in Andover.

The project is underway as of February 15th with tree clearing, to be followed by utility relocation of the overhead wires.

The work on the structure will begin in fall 2016 with completion expected by fall 2018. The project includes replacement of the southern abutment/pier and portions of the northern abutment. The superstructure will be replaced with a steel stringer bridge, with a permanent utility bridge to carry all utilities.

The project contractor is MAS Building and Bridge, Inc. As always, MassDOT contractors will take steps to minimize to the extent possible impacts associated with the construction of the project.

The North Main Street Bridge in Andover carries Route 28 over the MBTA railroad tracks.

Project questions may be directed to the MassDOT project field office, 978-475-4385.

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