On October 30, 2013, Governor Deval Patrick announced the Commonwealth’s commitment to advance the Silver Line Gateway project, with construction anticipated to begin in late 2014. In support of this goal, MassDOT initiated the environmental permitting of the project by filing an Expanded Environmental Notification Form (EENF) with the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs on November 15. The Secretary issued a Certificate on the project on December 27, 2013. The Certificate outlined the information for MassDOT to provide in a Single Environmental Impact Report (SEIR).
MassDOT filed the SEIR in April and comments are due to the Secretary by May 9. The SEIR outlines potential environmental, infrastructure and construction impacts, including a draft Construction Management Plan and proposed mitigation measures. MassDOT also held a public hearing on the 25% design of the project on April 1, 2014, and outlined plans for the roadway and bridge replacement elements of the project. Pending approval of the SEIR, MassDOT plans to put the project out for construction bids in Summer 2014.
The Silver Line Gateway project is the outcome of MassDOT’s recently completed Alternatives Analysis, which reviewed the potential benefits, costs and impacts of high-quality bus rapid transit (BRT) service for Chelsea and East Boston. MassDOT presented the recommended alternative—the busway to Mystic Mall—at the September 19 public meeting at Chelsea City Hall. The preferred alternative was projected to have the fastest travel times, largest number of new transit riders, and overall highest ridership. The preferred alternative was also the product of an extensive civic engagement effort focused on residents, businesses, community organizations and elected officials in Chelsea and Boston.
The Silver Line will fill a critical gap in access between residents in Chelsea, East Boston and other Blue Line communities and the rapid growth in employment opportunities across Boston Harbor in the Seaport District. In Chelsea, which has the greatest proportion of transit-dependent residents in Greater Boston and the most densely populated residential neighborhoods outside of the City of Boston, extending the Silver Line represents a much needed transit alternative.
The Silver Line Gateway will follow the existing Silver Line route in the Seaport District, before providing a new connection to the Blue Line and East Boston residents at Airport Station. In Chelsea, the Silver Line Gateway will operate in a new dedicated busway built in the former Grand Junction railroad right of way (now owned by the Commonwealth). There will be four new stations built in the busway—Eastern Avenue, Box District, Downtown Chelsea, and Mystic Mall. In addition to the Grand Junction, the Silver Line Gateway is able to leverage other recent public infrastructure investments, such as the Chelsea Street Bridge, Massport’s Coughlin Bypass Road, and the new Airport Blue Line Station.
As part of the project, Chelsea Commuter Rail Station will be relocated in order to create a modern station that meets federal and state accessibility guidelines. MassDOT is also coordinating with the City of Chelsea and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs on the creation of a new shared use path—the Chelsea Greenway—between downtown Chelsea and Eastern Avenue. Add the PowerPoint in English and Spanish under the April 1 hearing date MassDOT continues to welcome your ideas and participation in this process as it goes forward into design and construction. Please sign up for email alerts and participate in community meetings. Interpreters will be available at community meetings and translated documents will be posted on this website.