Changes to Bus Routes in Watertown Begin Sept. 1

The Express Buses going to and from Watertown Yard will be impacted by changes made by the MBTA beginning in September. Planned changes to improve some of the MBTA’s bus routes will take effect on Sept. 1, 2019, including some that go to Watertown. The changes are part of the Better Bus program, and on Sept. 1 the express bus routes to Watertown Yard will see some changes.

Gas Line Replacements Will Impact Streets in and Around Watertown

National Grid will be replacing natural gas lines to service a new development just over the town line in Belmont, but the project will impact users of two main roads in Watertown. A representative from the utility appeared before the Town Council earlier this month to discuss the portion of the project in Watertown, which will go down Lexington Street. Then the project continues to Belmont Street. In Watertown, the work will replace 350 feet of 12 inch gas line from Lexington Street at Warren Street to the island at Lexington and Belmont streets. A representative for National Grid at the meeting said the new gas line is needed to allow capacity for a new development in Belmont.

Labor Day Travel Tips for Drivers, MBTA & More

The following information was provided by MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is advising Labor Day travelers to make informed decisions, utilize all the available technology tools including, and consider public transportation if possible to reach destinations. MassDOT is taking several steps to ensure reliable travel for members of the public who utilize transportation systems across the Commonwealth and will be shutting down construction outside of fixed work zones for the Labor Day travel period effective at 5 a.m., Friday, August 30. Scheduled road work will then resume at the start of normal business hours on Tuesday, September 3. “We know there typically are higher volumes on some state highways during Labor Day weekend, and we advise everyone to make smart decisions before getting behind the wheel and heading to their holiday travel destinations,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Everyone should utilize the appropriate technology tools and wayfinding resources, consider the best route and time to travel, remain sober or use a designated driver, and exercise safe driving behavior at all times.”

The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will have normal morning hours this week and open early for the afternoon commute at 2 p.m., on Thursday, August 29, and 1 p.m., on Friday, August 30.  The HOV lane will be closed on Monday, September 2, and will then re-open for regularly scheduled hours on Tuesday, September 3.

Roadwork Causing Detours on Arsenal Street This Week

Drivers on Arsenal Street will be detoured in one direction beginning this week, and the Watertown Department of Public Works provided the following announcement:

Emergency work to replace the collapsed culvert on Arsenal Street, near #275 Arsenal Street and Louise Street, will recommence tomorrow, Tuesday, August 27. The next phase of work includes performing a test pit over the Cambridge water main to determine its depth and then completing removal of the collapsed stone-laid culvert and replacing with 15-inch PVC pipe. To facilitate the work, Arsenal Street WESTBOUND thru traffic will be detoured at School Street during the working hours of 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Local traffic will continue to have access to the businesses abutting Arsenal Street up to Tile Showcase (#285 Arsenal Street) and Lexus (#314 Arsenal Street).  MBTA buses will be allowed through the work zone. Arsenal Street EASTBOUND will remain open to thru traffic through the work area, but intermittent delays should be expected. We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding during this necessary work. This phase of work will complete the emergency repairs, with the old stone culvert having been removed from Arsenal Street and replaced with upgraded infrastructure

New Roundabout, Traffic Light Added to Common Street

An overhead view of Common Street, including the new roundabout on the right end, and the new traffic light at Common and Spring streets (left side, near the green sections). A much used road in Watertown has undergone a transformation this summer, and drivers will see a new roundabout and a traffic light. The roundabout is located at the five-prong intersection of Common Street with Orchard Street and Church Street. Workers have completed the repaving of the intersection and the roundabout is operational, according to the Watertown Department of Public Works. “The contractor has placed temporary pavement markings, signage and message boards throughout the area,” the DPW announcement said.

Rte. 128 Service Plaza Closed During Paving Project

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that the service plaza on Route 128/I-95 southbound in Newton will be closed from 10 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 14, through 12 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 15. This short-term impact is necessary in order to allow crews to safely and effectively conduct milling operations in this area. Advanced warning signs will be deployed to notify drivers of the closure of this facility. MassDOT encourages members of the public to plan ahead and utilize alternative service plazas during this period.

See the Detours Coming Up for the Common St. Project

Detours will be set up around the repaving project on Common Street. The work area (in yellow) also includes Katherine Road. The close roads are in red. The detours are shown in purple and the streets open only to local traffic are in lime green. Detours will be set up for a week in Watertown around the repaving area on Common Street.

OP-ED: Update on Repairs to the MBTA’s Red Line

The following information was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger of Belmont who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:

Please see also 7/26 update further below. MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak called me this morning to brief me about the Red Line’s troubles and his response. Below is a summary of our conversation. The Timeline for Service Restoration

Normally during rush hour, there are approximately 14 trains per hour. Unfortunately, at least through Labor Day, there will only be 10 trains per hour.