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Baker-Polito Administration Celebrates Beginning of Chelsea Commuter Rail Construction

Posted on September 13, 2019

A rendering of the new Chelsea Commuter Rail Station, with a full view of the platfrom from afar
A rendering of the new, fully accessible Chelsea Commuter Rail Station, which will be relocated approximately 1,800 feet west of the existing station for easier, more convenient transfers to the SL3.

Today Governor Charlie Baker, MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack, and MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak joined municipal leaders, elected officials, and local stakeholder groups gathered to celebrate the beginning of construction of the brand new, relocated Chelsea Commuter Rail Station.

“Relocating and upgrading the Chelsea Commuter Rail Station is an important part of delivering better service in Chelsea, furthering our administration’s work to deliver a more reliable system for customers,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This project will transform Chelsea Station into a multi-modal, fully accessible transit station that increases access to jobs and housing for MBTA riders.”

“The new Chelsea Commuter Rail Station will improve customer experience by providing a modern station located right next to the Silver Line 3 stop in Chelsea,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration continues to look forward to working with the T in support of important infrastructure upgrades happening across the system like this project.”

“The MBTA is executing a 5-year, $8 billion Capital Investment Program that prioritizes core system investments and customer improvements such as this Chelsea Commuter Rail Station,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Thank you to everyone who has supported our capital investments and who have been our partners as we modernize the T, including the Fiscal and Management Control Board, members of the Massachusetts Legislature, local leaders, transportation advocates, and our customers.”

“Chelsea Station is proof of the progress we’re making to build a better MBTA,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Once complete, Chelsea Station will be a multi-modal transit hub that will improve our services by providing more travel options for our customers.”

Serving the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line, the current Chelsea Commuter Rail Station is inconvenient for transfers to other modes of service, including the Silver Line 3-Chelsea (SL3) that began operating in April 2018. The current Chelsea Station is also not accessible for persons with disabilities.

“This is a great day for the residents of Chelsea,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico. “This new Commuter Rail station will be a huge benefit for Chelsea and provide a modern and accessible station for all commuters. I look forward to the opening of this station in 2021.”

“I want to thank Governor Baker, MassDOT, and Speaker DeLeo for their continued commitment to improving infrastructure around Chelsea,” said Rep. Dan Ryan. “I want to express my appreciation for the community while construction take place, which when once complete, will open new doors to access between Chelsea and downtown Boston.”

“I want to thank the Baker Administration and the MBTA for making this investment by building a station at the Chelsea Commuter Rail Stop,” said Rep. RoseLee Vincent. “For many years, this stop has existed by itself, but by creating a central station will be welcome for those who utilize every day, especially during inclement weather. It is important that we make investments like these to serve those who commute to and from Boston and Chelsea each day.”

“I am grateful for the investments on behalf of the MBTA into modernizing our transit infrastructure,” said Chelsea City Council President Damali Vidot. “Having a robust transit system that serves more of our hard-working families is vital to our quality of life and an important tool in lifting folks out of poverty.”

Construction near the new Chelsea Station, with a Commter Rail train coming in on the left, a crew in the middle and and right, with an excavator.
Construction crews began work in August 2019.

With a Notice to Proceed awarded to A.A. Will in June 2019 and early work beginning last month, the brand new Chelsea Commuter Rail Station will be relocated approximately 1,800 feet west of the existing station for easier, more convenient transfers to the adjacent SL3 stop in Chelsea. The new station will also be a completely accessible facility and feature high-level platforms, new sidewalks, ramps, stairways, lighting, signage, canopies, benches, and windscreens. The station is expected to be complete in 2021. With station construction costs of $32 million, the total project budget, which includes administrative, project, and support services, is $37.7 million.

During construction, MBTA crews and contractors will also completely demolish the current Chelsea Station, upgrade rail signaling systems and traffic crossings, make improvements to traffic signals at 3 intersections that cross the Silver Line busway (Everett Avenue, Spruce Street, and Arlington Street), and improve transit signal priority for the SL3 in Chelsea, enhancing safety and reliability of the Silver Line service through the immediate area.

Construction will include utility work and the drilling of new foundations for the station’s new platforms and canopies. As a result, there may be area road closures and/or traffic detours, though all pedestrian and bicycle access at SL3 stations will remain the same. Traffic crossing work will also require 6 weekend shutdowns in Commuter Rail service between 2019 and 2021, which are currently being scheduled.

The reconstruction of Chelsea Commuter Rail Station joins a number of transportation investments and initiatives being made in Chelsea and the surrounding community:

  • SL3 service began operating in April 2018 and was a $56.7 million investment jointly funded by MassDOT’s Highway Division ($7.6 million) and the MBTA ($49.1 million). Four new Silver Line stations as well as dedicated bus-only lanes were constructed in Chelsea with the SL3 connecting these neighborhoods to and from the Blue Line, Red Line, Seaport District, and South Station.
  • With a total project cost of over $200 million, both the Tobin Bridge ($42 million) and Chelsea Viaduct ($167 million) are more than 60 years old and are currently being repaired by MassDOT. Repairs to both structures are being made at the same time to minimize impacts to commuters and the local community. With work having begun in 2018, the project is targeting a completion by the end of 2020. When complete, the project will remove 15% of the structurally deficient bridge deck in the Commonwealth.
  • The MBTA has also formed the Chelsea Transportation Task Force to collaborate with the Chelsea community in working through transportation challenges. The objective of this task force is to identify operational efficiencies, possible solutions for travel delays, and new ways to strengthen communication between the MBTA and its customers regarding service levels and more.

To learn more about this project to reconstruct Chelsea Commuter Rail Station and its related impacts, customers, area residents, and the public are encouraged to attend a Public Information Meeting being held at Chelsea City Hall on Thursday, September 19, at 6 PM.

For more information about Chelsea Commuter Rail Station, please visit mbta.com/ChelseaStation or connect with the T on Twitter @MBTA or @MBTA_CR.

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