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 in early 2020.
Phase 1 Construction Update
Location of work:
- Culvert replacements & track work: FRN-4 culvert location on the New Bedford Main Line and FRN-22 culvert location on the Fall River Secondary in Freetown. See the Early Action Culverts map below under Additional Resources.
- Construction sheeting will be installed at the FRN-22 culvert, located between the High Street and Copicut Road grade crossings in Freetown.
- 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:
- Tuesday, January 21, and Wednesday, January 22, from 7:00 AM to midnight each day
- 24 hours per day from 7:00 AM on Thursday, January 23, through midnight on Tuesday, January 29
- Tarkiln Hill Road Grade Crossing: Monday through Friday between 7:00 AM and 4:00 PM
Additional dates and times will be announced.
Work zone access:
- Culvert replacements: 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, the Elm Street grade crossing, 181 South Main Street, and 185 South Main Street in Freetown. Secondary construction staging will be located at the Malbone Street and Elm Street grade crossing in Lakeville, the Copicut Road grade crossing in Freetown, and the Cotley Street grade crossing in Berkley. Construction equipment is expected to utilize all of these grade crossings 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.