GLX construction activities and traffic updates

May 7 - 31, 2019, construction outlook and upcoming plans. This schedule is subject to change based on weather or other factors.

Table of Contents

Broadway Bridge Closure & New Bridge Construction

  • Start Date: March 22, 2019
  • Duration: 12 months (24-hour work schedule expected at times)
  • Purpose of Work: A new, redesigned Broadway Bridge is needed to accommodate the additional light-rail lines that will pass underneath the bridge.
  • Approach: The design and construction of the existing bridge does not allow it to be taken down in stages and thus maintain vehicular and pedestrian traffic. A full closure will be needed and all demolition and construction will need to be synchronized with commuter rail operations.
  • Impacts: Significant Traffic congestion for motorists and pedestrians in the area is expected along the detour route. Extensive night and weekend work will be required to take advantage of narrow time windows when commuter rail lines are temporarily shut down. While the project will seek to minimize construction impacts, noise and work lights from the site are to be expected.
  • Areas impacted in next two weeks: A large drill rig is being used to drill shafts down to the bedrock. Rebar and concrete will be placed in these shafts to create the new foundation or abutment for the bridge. Work is now focused on the east side of the alignment, on the Magoun Square side of the closure. On the west side of the alignment a drill rig will start the installation of temporary supportive excavation necessary to build the new abutment.
  • Benefits: The work will advance this important phase of the project forward in an efficient manner.

Washington Street Underpass Closure & Overpass Construction

Target Start: April 8, 2019

Duration: The entire underpass will be closed for approximately 8 months beginning April 8, 2019. The bridge is scheduled to re-open for a period of approximately 4 months, then closed again for an approximate 5-month duration.

Extensive night and weekend work is expected.

Purpose of the Work: Replace and widen the railroad bridge as well as associated infrastructure along the roadway including drainage improvements. A wider bridge is needed to make room for Green Line Extension track and Community Path. This replacement will be a total redesign and improve the overall functionality of this overpass.

Approach: Detours will be in place and heavy business and commuter outreach will lead up to the closures.

Impacts: Significant. Expect heavy traffic along the Washington St. closure detour route. During demolition expect heavy equipment noise from hoe-rams as the overpass superstructure and substructure are removed. Night and weekend work will be needed to limit track disruptions and expedite new bridge construction.

Areas impacted in next two weeks: Demolition of one-half of the rail overpass superstructure and abutments is now complete. Drainage installation and foundation work on the new portion of the bridge is ongoing.

Benefits: A more functional overpass will result that is within a short distance of the East Somerville Green Line Station.

Drainage Installation & Wall Construction

TARGET START: Work underway

Purpose of Work: Foundational work on the east side of the alignment that improves and expands the drainage system infrastructure and serves as the start of major, permanent construction on the GLX Project.

Approach: Work is focused on the east side of the alignment and will take place behind separation barrier for worker protection.

Duration: Through the end of 2019.

Impacts: Most of the impact will occur when activities take place directly behind homes or businesses. Fence-line neighbors should expect some noise, vibration and heavy equipment traffic either on the alignment or in areas where the construction team is entering/exiting the rail alignment.

Areas impacted in next two weeks: Foundation drilling for retaining walls and sound walls continues on the east side of the alignment south of Charles E. Ryan Rd. near the Somerville Department of Public Works, north and south of Broadway, and north of College Ave. Once the foundations are drilled, steel posts to hold sound wall panels will be set in concrete. Sound abatement panels will be installed later in the year.

Reinforced concrete drainage pipe (54-inches in diameter) installation continues to progress from Central to Lowell and now heading north toward Cedar. At Lowell Street, crews are just finishing pipe installation under the bridge near the abutment. A second drainage crew continues to move south from Broadway.

Benefits: Improved drainage and noise abatement for the area.

Pre-Construction Survey

  • Target Start: Phase I complete – Phase II underway
  • Duration: Surveys of each property take approximately one hour to complete. Work will continue through mid-2019.
  • Purpose of Work: Capture existing conditions of homes and businesses along the alignment to compare with final conditions should questions arise concerning adverse construction impacts.
  • Approach: Peer Consultants initially documented conditions from the right-of-way. In late April/early May 2018, Phase I of the survey (on the east side of the MBTA right-of-way) went into effect and property owners were contacted requesting access to their properties in order to perform the survey work (inside & out). Survey work on the east side of the alignment is complete. Peer Consultants has reached out to property owners on the west side of the alignment and is actively performing surveys
  • Impacts: Approximately one hour time commitment on the part of property owners.
  • Areas impacted in next two weeks: N/A
  • Benefits: Homeowners will receive a report from the survey. This operation will provide documentation of existing conditions to property owners to ensure any project impacts are captured.

Pest Control

  • Target Start: Work underway
  • Duration: Abatement work began in April 2018 and will continue throughout the duration of project. A1 Pest Control is checking bait stations weekly to monitor pest activity. Baiting is intensified in areas reporting increased activity.
  • Purpose of Work: Reduce chances of pushing rodent issues from right-of-way (ROW) into rail neighbors’ properties.
  • Approach: A rodent habitat inspection on the ROW was completed and the Green Line Extension Constructors Pest Management Plan has been adjusted based on the findings. Nearly 500 hundred baiting stations have been placed along the ROW with baiting in hundreds of burrows.
  • Impacts: Our goal is to reduce the number of rodents, their habitats and conditions that support the rodent population. Subcontractor will closely monitor this work to minimize off-property impacts.
  • Areas impacted in next two weeks: Baiting continues throughout the alignment each week.
  • Benefits: Construction team is working with the cities of Somerville, Medford, and Cambridge to maximize the effectiveness of their efforts with ours.

Soil Boring & Utility Investigation

  • Target Start: Work underway
  • Duration: Soil boring work and utility investigation work continues.
  • Purpose of Work: Determine soil and rock quality to support design efforts. Confirm drawings and utility locations match to avoid possible utility strikes and disruption of service during construction.
  • Approach: Multiple crews with boring and other earth moving equipment are methodically moving operations throughout the entire GLX construction corridor.
  • Impacts: Vary depending on location.
  • Areas Impacted in the next two weeks: Work continues across the project on an as needed basis.
  • Benefits: Soil characterization plays an important part in design.

Demolition of Homan Building (near Medford & Pearl St.) - COMPLETE!

Start Date: mid-March 2019

Duration: Completion late April 2019

Purpose of Work: Make way for contractor material laydown area and site access.

Approach: Standard abatement and building demolition approach

Impacts: n/a

Areas impacted in next two weeks: n/a

Benefits: The site will provide an off-road construction staging and lay-down area for GLX and the future construction of a traction power substation. Post construction, the site will provide the City of Somerville with significant development opportunities.

Demolition at Ball Square - COMPLETE!

Start Date: April 22, 2019

Purpose of Work? Make way for contractor material laydown area and future Ball Square Station

Approach: Standard demolition approach.

Duration: 3 - 4 weeks.

Impacts: Minimal.

Areas impacted in next two weeks: Minimal. Excavation and site prep work will continue.

Benefits: Removing these buildings will support Broadway Bridge demolition/construction and future Ball Square Station Construction.

Upcoming work – Medford Street Bridge Closure

Start Date: May 17, 2019

Purpose of Work? A retrofitted span for the Medford St. Bridge is needed to accommodate the additional light-rail lines that will pass underneath the bridge.

Approach: The existing bridge will be modified to create a higher / longer span

Duration: Spring 2020

Impacts: Significant for motorists who are also negotiating the Broadway Bridge and Washington underpass closure.

Areas impacted in next two weeks: Expect continued heavy equipment traffic in and out of area as Bridge demolition material is removed from the site and as construction materials are brought in.

Benefits: By closing this bridge approximately 7 weeks ahead of schedule we are helping the Somerville HS construction contractor move forward with their work which will provide the GLX Project easier access in the summer. Once complete the area will have a new bridge, improved drainage and the new Gilman Square Station.

Viaduct Construction connecting Lechmere Station to future Union Square Station

Target Start: Work underway

Purpose of Work: Green Line Extension Constructors are building nearly 1 mile of rail line much of it elevated that replaces part of an existing viaduct leading into old Lechmere Station.  A large portion of the new viaduct will be placed behind buildings facing Monsignor O’Brien Hwy.   The future Lechmere Station will be located at East St. with the viaduct continuing along O'Brien Hwy. and near the Brickbottom Artists Association Building before it swings below the highway and adjacent to the existing Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line.  The line then continues up to the new Union Square Station which is the terminus for this leg of the GLX Project.

Approach: Since aspects of this part of the project intersect with existing rail lines, much of the work occurs on weekends and in the evening during commuter rail outages.  Unlike other parts of the job, most of this section is elevated which requires a lot of foundation drilling to support vertical columns.

Duration: End of 2020

Impacts: Beginning Tuesday evening, May 7, 2019, night work operations will commence a period of about 2 weeks. The work zone will stretch from the future Lechmere Station area in Cambridge to the Brickbottom area near Fitchburg Street in Somerville. The hours of operation are expected to be late evening (after the last commuter rail train) until about 4:00 AM (before the morning rush).

The purpose of the work is to complete the fabrication of concrete forms. No drilling or pouring of concrete is planned during the nighttime hours. The work is not considered to be a particularly loud activity, however, there will be deliveries and heavy equipment moving on the site from time to time. Despite best efforts to point lights away from buildings, certain areas will be illuminated.

Residential buildings that may experience noise and bright lights include Brickbottom Artists Association, Glass Factory, Zinc Apartments, the Hampton Inn, the Fairfield Inn, Avalon North Point, and Glassworks.

In mid-2020 the existing Lechmere Station viaduct will transition from Green Line rail to bus service for a period of about 1 year.  This may impact travel times for riders in the area.

Areas impacted in next two weeks: Frequent drilling and hauling operations as spoils from the drilling are taken from various areas to the laydown yard between Water Street and East Street.

Benefits: This is a vital section of the Green Line Extension Project which will extend light rail service to previously underserved metropolitan areas.