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South Coast Rail Construction Activity

Round the Clock Construction is Ongoing for South Coast Rail Phase 1

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 spring 2020.

Phase 1 Construction Update

Location of work:

  • Culvert & track work: Work will 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.

Date/time of work:

  • Culvert replacements & track work:
    • Tuesday, March 24, through Friday, March 27, from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM each day
    • Monday, March 30, and Tuesday, March 31, from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM each day

Additional dates and times will be announced.

Notes:

  • 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.

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.

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