BOSTON – Governor Deval Patrick today announced four historic transportation infrastructure investments that will stimulate economic growth and opportunity for commuters, residents and businesses throughout greater Boston, enhance accessibility and ease traffic and congestion. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will launch a $1.3 billion program to replace and increase the capacity of the Red Line and Orange Line trains, the Massachusetts Turnpike will be fitted with all electronic, open road tolling, design and permitting will begin immediately to rebuild and straighten the route of the I-90/Massachusetts Turnpike in Allston and the Clayton Street Bridge in Dorchester will be replaced over Veterans Day weekend.
The projects announced will bring reliable, long-term relief to commuters who travel the Massachusetts Turnpike and rely on the Red and Orange lines to get to work and school. Governor Patrick made the announcement at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce government affairs forum where he addressed generational responsibility and the importance of expanding economic opportunity for people throughout Massachusetts by investing in education, innovation and infrastructure.
“Growth requires investment, and these projects will catalyze growth in greater Boston,” said Governor Patrick. “If we want to expand opportunity in our Commonwealth, this is what government must do and do well.”
The MBTA on Tuesday issued Requests for Proposals for the $1.3 billion procurement to replace the 44-year old Red Line cars and 32-year old Orange Line cars. The project will deliver at least 226 vehicles; 152 Orange Line cars, replacing the entire fleet of 120, and 74 Red Line cars with an option to increase the fleet to 132. The new cars will provide improved reliability, accessibility and energy efficiency. New car features include increased capacity and additional seating, wider and electrically operated doors, four accessible areas per car, LED lighting, modern HVAC systems and advanced passenger information and announcement systems. The MBTA expects to award a contract for the cars by winter 2014-15, with the condition that the final assembly of the cars will take place in Massachusetts, providing further investment in the Commonwealth. Following required extensive pilot train testing, Orange Line car delivery is scheduled to begin in winter 2018-19 and Red Line car delivery in fall 2019.
Construction will begin in 2014 to install all electronic, open road tolling to significantly ease congestion and traffic on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Electronic tolling will begin in a testing phase on the Tobin Bridge beginning in January and will go live in the spring.
The I-90 Turnpike straightening project will replace a nearly half mile long structurally-deficient viaduct including 29 bridge structures built in the mid-1960’s. The viaduct project will straighten existing turns on both sides of the existing Allston-Brighton toll area, reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions while opening up to 60 acres for future development in the Beacon Park Yards area. MassDOT’s Highway Division will coordinate this multi-phase project with federal, state and city representatives and conduct public outreach with business, educational and other area institutions in the area. The current schedule calls for construction to begin in fall 2016 with completion in 2020. The preliminary estimated cost of the project is $260 million.
The Governor also announced that the Clayton Street Bridge in Dorchester will be replaced over Veterans Day weekend as part of the Patrick Administration’s push to use accelerated construction techniques to deliver projects. The bridge is located in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston and carries the Ashmont-Alewife Red Line over Clayton Street at the intersection of Clayton Street and Dickens Street. The bridge was first constructed in 1911 and is a three-span steel superstructure supported on steel bents and concrete abutments.
“The Governor has a proven track record over seven years of making strategic decisions about targeting investment where it has the greatest positive impact on our transportation customers, and the Turnpike improvements and new T cars are historic additions to that record,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.
“The nearly 50-year old Turnpike viaduct in Allston carries more than 100,000 vehicles daily and no longer meets today’s needs,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola. “This project will allow us to straighten the roadway, replace and reduce the length of the viaduct, and to better support and maintain the future all electronic tolling format at the interchange.”
“Our customers on the Orange and Red Lines have been waiting literally for years to see these long-discussed investments become a reality,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott. “New cars will provide reliable service while increasing seating capacity and accessibility for all riders.”
The I-90 and MBTA projects build on previous unprecedented investments by the Patrick Administration in the Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure. Road and bridge investments across the Commonwealth nearly tripled in the past seven years, from $515 million in FY2007 to $1.4 billion in FY2013. Governor Patrick’s historic $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program has reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges by 19 percent since its beginning in 2008, while creating thousands of construction jobs. Over the course of the eight year program, more than 200 bridges will be replaced or repaired.
MBTA investments include three new T stations opened along the Fairmount Line in Roxbury and Dorchester, work now underway to bring the Green Line Extension to Union Square and Washington Street in Somerville, and construction of the first new Orange Line T station in 25 years at the Assembly Row development in Somerville. Overall, MBTA “state-of-good-repair” investments are approaching nearly $600 million per year while introducing customer-focused improvements such as subway countdown clocks, smartphone apps for tracking the arrival of buses and trains, mobile ticketing for commuter rail and improved accessibility with new elevators and escalators.