MassDOT began Early Action construction projects on South Coast Rail to prepare for Phase 1 main line rail construction contracts. The first visible active construction projects are drainage culvert replacement, a railroad grade crossing update and constructing wetlands as mitigation along the right-of-way. Additional work to replace 4 railroad bridges is also underway. Construction can bring temporary inconvenience, but this phase is expected to move quickly. MassDOT provides regular updates on this website or you can sign-up for the SCR email updates
Work on the Culvert Replacement Project and in the vicinity of the Tarklin Hill Road Grade Crossing is anticipated to be completed by January 2020.
Phase 1 Construction Update
Location of work:
- Culvert replacements & track work: BK-2, FR-6, FRN-17, FRN-18, FRN-21 and NB-3 culvert locations on the Fall River Secondary and New Bedford Main Line in Berkley, Fall River, Freetown, and New Bedford, respectively. See the Early Action Culverts map below under Additional Resources.
- The BK-2 culvert, located between the Route 24 overhead bridges in Taunton and the Cotley Street grade crossing in Berkley, was replaced during the work that began October 3. Clean-up activities will continue at this location.
- The FR-6 culvert, located between Fall River Country Club and the Clark Street overhead bridge in Fall River, is scheduled to be replaced next week. Preparation activities will be performed.
- The track profile in the vicinity of the FRN-17 and FRN-18 culverts, located between the northerly Richmond Road and northerly Forge Road grade crossings in Freetown, is scheduled to be raised next week. Preparation activities will be performed.
- The FRN-21 culvert, located between the Elm Street and High Street grade crossings in Freetown, is scheduled to be replaced next week. Preparation activities will be performed.
- The NB-3 culvert, located between the Samuel Barnet Boulevard grade crossing and the Route 140 overhead bridges in New Bedford, was replaced during the work that began October 3. Track restoration and clean-up activities will continue at this location.
- Additional work will also be performed throughout the South Coast Rail Phase 1 Corridor on the New Bedford Main Line, Fall River Secondary, and Middleborough Secondary in the communities of Berkley, Fall River, Freetown, Lakeville, Middleborough, New Bedford, Raynham and Taunton.
- Grade crossing improvements: Tarkiln Hill Road Grade Crossing in New Bedford
Date/time of work:
- Culvert replacements & track work:
- Wednesday, October 9, from 5:00 AM to midnight
- Thursday, October 10, and Friday, October 11, from 7:00 AM to midnight each day
- Tuesday, October 15, from 7:00 AM to midnight
- Tarkiln Hill Road Grade Crossing: Weekdays between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM.
Additional dates and times will be announced.
Work zone access:
- Culvert replacements: Primary construction access, material and construction staging, and employee parking locations will be primarily located at the contractor’s laydown areas near the Chace Road grade crossing, near 181 South Main Street, and at the Elm Street grade crossing in Freetown, and near 781 Church Street in New Bedford. Secondary construction staging and access will be via rail from the Myricks, Cotley and Padelford Street grade crossings in Berkley. Equipment is expected to utilize these grade crossings and also the grade crossings at Mill Street and Adams Street in Berkley; Beechwood Road, northerly and southerly Richmond Road, northerly and southerly Forge Road, High Street, and Copicut Road in Freetown; and Samuel Barnet Boulevard in New Bedford throughout the construction period. All access to the culvert sites will be via rail and all work will be performed on the railroad corridor.
- Culvert replacements: This work will be disruptive to local residents. Crews will be using various pieces of heavy equipment and trucks along the railroad right-of-way throughout the construction period. While the project will seek to minimize construction-related impacts to communities, noise will be generated and work lights will be used along the right-of-way.
- Tarklin Hill Road Grade Crossing: Vehicular and pedestrian access will be maintained through all roadway work zones and access to local businesses will not be impacted.
If you would like to report a noise issue, call the hotline at (508) 397-4858. The noise hotline is for the reporting of construction-related noise issues. It will be answered Monday-Friday, between the hours of 7:00 AM and 3:30 PM (except holidays). All voicemails left outside of these hours will be received the following weekday. We will respond to all noise complaints.
Background: Early Action Culvert Construction and Tarkiln Hill Road Grade Crossing
A culvert is an open structure that allows water to pass beneath the railroad tracks. Culverts serve an important purpose as cross-drains for maintaining flow in drainage ditches or stream crossings along the railroad. From Middleborough to New Bedford and Fall River, MassDOT’s Contractor will replace a total of 46 culverts with new precast structures, clean an additional 16 existing culverts, and remove 1 out-of-service culvert. Existing granite culverts are being replaced with new precast concrete structures. The new precast culverts meet the Massachusetts Stream Crossing Standards, so most will be large enough for wildlife, including foxes and other small mammals to safely pass through.
As part of the culvert improvements project, MassDOT has been working closely with the City of New Bedford on the Tarkiln Hill Road grade crossing. The crossing will receive critical roadway drainage improvements that are necessary to prepare for follow-on rail construction and future Phase 1 service. The work is being coordinated and scheduled ahead of a City of New Bedford roadway project at King’s Highway.
This project also includes constructing six wetlands impact mitigation areas adjacent to the railroad right-of-way. The original estimate for wetlands impact in the South Coast Region was over 2 acres, but the final design team was able to reduce the impacts to less than ½-acre. The final mitigation was developed during the state and federal environmental process and specified in the MA Department of Environmental Protection Section 401 Water Quality Certificate issued for the Phase 1 work.
As additional project mitigation, MassDOT has agreed to provide excess granite from the old culverts to the MA Division of Marine Fisheries to be repurposed in creating off-shore reefs off Cape Cod to improve fisheries habitat. The total area of wetland mitigation is 1.5 times greater than the impacted area in all of Phase 1, and when completed at the end of 2019, the areas will satisfy the state-regulated wetland impact mitigation requirements for the culvert repair work and all of SCR Phase 1.