South Coast Rail Construction Activity

Current details on construction progress

Main Line Construction has begun on Phase 1 of South Coast Rail. Read more about these projects on the About the South Coast Rail Project page.

See how this work will affect property abutters.

MassDOT provides regular updates on this website or you can sign up for the SCR email updates.

Table of Contents

Phase 1 Early Action Construction

  • Culvert Replacements and Related Track Work – substantially complete
  • Wetland Construction – substantially complete
  • Tarkiln Hill Road Grade Crossing Improvements – substantially complete
  • Four Bridge Replacements – substantially complete

Culvert Replacements Update

Installed 46 culverts as part of the drainage system. Constructed five wetland mitigation areas and began monitoring their success.

Four Bridge Replacements Update

Work has been completed for the for the bridge replacements and related track work at the North and South Cotley railroad bridges in Berkley, the Cedar Swamp railroad bridge in Lakeville, and the Fall Brook railroad bridge in Freetown.

Early Action Building Demolition Update

MBTA's contractor has completed the following early action building demolition work to prepare for follow-on Phase 1 station and Main Line construction.

The former structures at 1141 County St., Taunton; 15 Richmond Road, Freetown; 2804 North Main Street, 825 Davol St., and 61 Pearce St., Fall River; 3 Adams Lane, Berkley; 161 South Main Street and 52 West Grove Street, Middleborough; 91 Old Colony Avenue, Taunton; 2 and 6 Wye Street in Berkley; and 387 Church Street, New Bedford, have been demolished.

Phase 1 Main Line Construction Update

The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) approved the first major construction contract to build the Fall River Secondary on May 11, 2020. The second package, which includes the New Bedford Main Line, the Middleborough Secondary, and the signal system for the entire Phase 1 corridor, was approved on August 24, 2020. Both elements of Phase 1 construction are currently underway.


South Coast Rail and Mass Coastal Railroad Evening Freight Operations

After about 9 months of evening operations during the 2023 construction season, Mass Coastal Railroad has returned to a daytime train schedule for freight operations on the New Bedford Mainline and Fall River Secondary Line (see SCR project map for location of railroad lines).

From February 12-16, Mass Coastal Railroad (MCRR) will move daily freight operations to evenings to support South Coast Rail activities on the Fall River Secondary Line and New Bedford Main Line. During this period, abutters to these railroad lines from Taunton to Fall River and New Bedford could anticipate trains during weekday evenings between 5:00 PM and 12:00 AM.

This will not change the current daily operations on the Middleborough Secondary Line. Trains will continue to run during the daytime, and construction activities will carry on in coordination with freight train movements along that line.


New Bedford: Rt. 18 Overnight Closures and Detours for Pedestrian Bridge Work

Construction continues for the new pedestrian bridge across Route 18 and Acushnet Avenue connecting to the New Bedford Station.

Please note temporary support steel structures (falsework) will be erected over Route 18, which will be used to support the placement and construction of the new permanent bridge steel. Installation of falsework is planned to begin next week.

This work will require overnight closures of Route 18 and adjacent roads. Signage and police details will be in place to direct traffic. The following is a tentative schedule of closures, subject to change.

Tuesday Night, February 20 – Acushnet Avenue: traffic will be diverted to Herman Melville Boulevard

Wednesday Night, February 21 – Route 18 Northbound at Route 6/Mill Street and Hillman Street: traffic will be diverted to Herman Melville Boulevard and Purchase Street (see map below)

Thursday Night, February 22 – Route 18 Southbound at Purchase Street exit: traffic will be diverted to Purchase Street (see map below)

Sunday Night, February 25 – Route 18 Southbound or Purchase Street Ramp: traffic diversions as described above or below

Monday Night, February 26 – Route 18 Purchase St. Ramp: Traffic will be diverted to the next Route 18 exit (Route 6 West exit onto Pleasant Street/Purchase Street)

Route 18 Southbound and Northbound closure maps with arrows pointing out the detours.

Location of work:

  • Purchase Street (between Pearl Street and Willis Street)
  • Near the MassHire Greater New Bedford Career Center (618 Acushnet Ave)
  • Route 18 at the Purchase Street exit

Dates/Hours of Work:

  • Weekdays, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Nighttime work hours for falsework install, 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM
Overhead view of Purchase Street showing the work zone and no parking area.

To accommodate the construction of the west side plaza of the bridge, there will be no street parking on the east side of Purchase Street between Pearl Street and Willis Street.


Middleborough, Lakeville, Raynham, Taunton, Berkley, Freetown, Fall River, and New Bedford: Brush Cutting and Tree Trimming along the Railroad

Crews continue to clear vegetation along the railroad right-of-way and at railroad access easements across the MBTA South Coast Rail lines. This work will improve the safety and visibility for trains operating along these lines.

Dates/Hours of Work:

  • Monday to Sunday, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM


Middleborough, Lakeville, Raynham, Taunton, Freetown, Fall River, and New Bedford: Signal System Installations and Testing

Installations and testing for the railroad signal system for the entire South Coast Rail Phase 1 is ongoing along the railroad right-of-way and at railroad crossings. Please be advised that during this work, signals may be disabled. In those instances, railroad workers known as flaggers will be in place to safely direct train traffic through crossings, and drivers should heed the flaggers' directions.

In the weeks ahead, the project will be continuing to run test trains along the South Coast Rail lines to make sure the new signal systems are properly working. Abutters to the railroad may notice the increased train traffic and crossing signal usage.

Location of work:

  • Signal work along the railroad right-of-way and crossings on the Middleborough Secondary Line (Middleborough, Lakeville, Raynham, Taunton), the Fall River Secondary Line (Berkley, Assonet, Fall River), and the New Bedford Main Line (Taunton, Berkley, Lakeville, Freetown, New Bedford)

Dates/Hours of Work:

  • Typically, Monday through Sunday, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Map of project site. Installations and testing for the railroad signal system for the entire South Coast Rail Phase 1 is ongoing along the railroad right-of-way and at railroad crossings.

 

Fence Installation: Lakeville, Taunton, Freetown, Berkley, New Bedford

Location of work: 

  • Installation of fence along the Middleborough Secondary Line railroad right-of-way at locations between Route 140 in Taunton and Leonard Street in Lakeville
  • Fence installation along the New Bedford Main Line railroad right-of-way at locations between the East Taunton Station site (1141 County Street) in Taunton and the New Bedford Station Site (Acushnet Avenue at Whale’s Tooth Parking Lot) in New Bedford

Dates/Hours of Work: Monday through Friday (with weekend work as needed), 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM

The MBTA’s contractor is installing fences at locations along the Middleborough Secondary Line and the New Bedford Main Line railroad right of way.

Map highlighting the location of the work. The MBTA’s contractor is installing fences along the Middleborough Secondary Line and the New Bedford Main Line railroad right of way.

Generally, fences are placed in areas where it will enhance safety and minimize trespassing on the railroad right-of-way. Abutters to the railroad may see orange stakes marking survey boundaries and will notice crews working in the railroad right-of-way to install these fences. In some locations limited tree and brush clearing may be needed to facilitate this work. The typical type of MBTA fence that will be installed is a 6-foot-tall chain link fence. Fences will be set on the MBTA’s property line.

 

Daytime Work on Middleborough Secondary and New Bedford Main Line

Locations of Work:

  • New Middleborough Station site, 161 South Main Street, Middleborough
  • East Taunton Station site, 1141 County Street, Taunton
  • Wamsutta Layover Facility site, 217 Herman Melville Boulevard, New Bedford
  • Church Street Station site, 387 Church Street, New Bedford
  • New Bedford Station Site, Acushnet Avenue (at Whale's Tooth Parking Lot), New Bedford
  • Middleborough Secondary and New Bedford Main Line right-of-way

Dates/Hours of Work:

  • Monday through Sunday, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Please note that although regular daytime construction hours begin at 7:00 AM, abutters may notice crews arriving at the construction sites prior to this time.

Construction is ongoing at station and layover sites and along the railroad right-of-way from Middleborough to New Bedford.

 

Daytime Work on Fall River Secondary

Locations of Work:

  • Freetown Station site, 153 South Main Street, Assonet
  • Weaver's Cove Layover Facility, 2680 North Main Street, Fall River
  • Fall River Depot site, 825 Davol Street, Fall River
  • Fall River Secondary Line railroad right-of-way

Dates/Hours of Work:

  • Monday through Sunday, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Please note that although regular daytime hours begin at 7:00 AM, abutters may notice crews arriving at the sites prior to this time.

Signal work is ongoing at station and layover sites and along the railroad right-of-way from Berkley to Fall River.

 

Daytime Transportation of Soils to Freetown

Please note that soils excavated from the railroad right-of-way and roadway during the above work are typically transported during the day by truck to designated project sites.

Dates/Hours of Work:

  • Regular daytime hours 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Ongoing MBTA work may be disruptive to residents. Crews are using various pieces of heavy equipment and trucks along the railroad right-of-way. While the project will seek to minimize construction-related impacts to communities, low to moderate noise levels and vibrations will be generated. In addition, work lights will be used during overnight hours.

The railroad right-of-way is an active construction zone and freight railroad. Only authorized personnel are allowed on the railroad right-of-way - trespassing is illegal. For your own safety, never walk on or cross the tracks.

If you would like to report a construction-related issue on the South Coast Rail project, please call the hotline at (617) 222-4099. The hotline will be answered Monday-Friday, between 7:00 AM and 3:30 PM (except holidays). All voicemails left outside of these hours are received the following 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM weekday shift. The project will respond to all complaints.

Contact for South Coast Rail Construction Activity

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