The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is continuing to remind members of the public that weather permitting, trolley service on the MBTA’s Green Line B Branch near the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and access for private vehicles to the Commonwealth Avenue and Boston University Bridges is anticipated to resume by the middle of the upcoming week as a major phase of construction on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge is expected to be completed.
MassDOT sent out the following information:
Throughout Friday and Saturday, some of the final construction-related activities including placing rail and grout were taking longer than planned, and weather conditions including rain delayed some of the pouring of concrete. On Sunday, crews have been continuing to work 24/7 to place new rail and concrete on areas of the deck. The concrete will need to cure for at least 24 hours and the rail must be tested prior to service.
Sunday night, crews placed waterproof membrane on the bridge surface, re-stringing the catenary wire that powers the MBTA’s Green Line, and conducting additional track related work. Tomorrow, crews will be putting in place the first-level of pavement on the eastbound side of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.
The full upcoming schedule of travel impacts as follows:
- Through the middle of the upcoming week: the BU Bridge and Commonwealth Avenue Bridge are anticipated to remain closed to private vehicles.
- Through the middle of the upcoming week: the MBTA Green Line B will continue to accommodate customers with bus shuttles for stops in the area of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.
- Through the middle of the upcoming week: MBTA bus route detours continue.
- I-90: four lanes of travel east and westbound under the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge will be maintained.
“We thank the public and local community for their cooperation and patience as our crews continue working day and night in order to replace the eastbound side of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge so that it can safely and reliably accommodate travelers for many years to come,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “This weekend’s work has taken longer than expected and the project team is committed to completing this phase of our operations as quickly and efficiently as possible. We expect to be able to shift our focus in the middle of this week to the stage of work that should not significantly impact travel as it will include minor finishing tasks such as building sidewalks and curbing throughout this area.”
“Travelers should remember that buses will continue to replace trolleys on a section of the MBTA’s Green Line B-Branch and private vehicles are not able to access the Commonwealth Avenue and Boston University Bridges until the middle of the upcoming week,” said Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “We recognize this is a temporary inconvenience but appreciate the public’s understanding of our commitment to conducting work in a way that reduces our overall impact on the local community and ensures quality and reliability as we replace the eastbound side of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.”
In several days, bridge deck construction operations will transition from the intensive structure replacement work to finishing tasks such as completing the final paving work as well as installing curbing and sidewalk. These minor operations are expected to occur throughout the coming weeks and are not expected to significantly impact traffic or the local community. Accommodations including temporary pavement markings, delineated bicycle lanes, and detours for pedestrians around the minor finishing work will be in place in this area.
For the next several weeks, there will be short term, off-peak lane reductions on Commonwealth Avenue in the vicinity of the bridge to allow for the finishing work and minor operations. Crews will also carry out utility relocations and signal work between the major operations this summer. Next summer, the westbound deck of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge will be replaced. Members of the public are encouraged to check transit schedule information to learn about B Line bus shuttles and regular service: www.mbta.com. In addition, MassDOT’s free app, GoTime, (www.MassDOTgotime.com), has real-time travel time to specific destinations on major roads in the state. Other resources to learn of real-time information include the following Twitter accounts: @MassDOT @MBTA and @MBTA_CR.
The Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project has been years in the planning and logistics are being deployed in such a way as to best to shorten the length of time the work will impact the public. MassDOT contractors will continue to work continuous shifts seven days a week and utilize Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques in order to reduce the overall construction duration and minimize the impact on travelers.
This project, which would take an estimated four to five years using conventional techniques with significant lane-takings and service disruptions, is scheduled for two short duration construction phases. The eastbound side of the bridge deck of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and the MBTA Green Line B track area are being replaced now and in the summer of 2018, the westbound side of the bridge deck will be replaced. In addition to a new bridge deck, the entire project will result in functional and safety improvements for vehicles, the B Line, for cyclists and for pedestrians.
The full project impacts of the Commonwealth Bridge Project are as follows:
For Pedestrians and Bicyclists:
- Pedestrians and bicyclists are able to travel across a portion of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge on the westbound side throughout construction this summer.
- Bicyclists heading in some directions will encounter occasional minor detour routes, such as, where they are able to cross Commonwealth Avenue.
- Some areas of Commonwealth Avenue near the construction zone have jersey barriers and fencing to protect the public from heavy construction equipment which is deployed and sometimes moving along the road. As always, during the construction period, pedestrians and bicyclists will have full access across the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge on the westbound side.
- Due to safety and logistic reasons, the temporary mid-block crossing between Carlton Street and St. Mary’s Street has been closed. The western crosswalk at the Commonwealth Avenue/St. Mary’s intersection has been re-opened, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to cross Commonwealth Avenue at St. Mary’s Street under police detail control.
- Eastbound bicyclists heading to the BU Bridge will cross Commonwealth Avenue at St. Paul Street to a shared bike/bus travel lane in the westbound roadway. Bicyclists continuing eastbound will cross back to eastbound Commonwealth Avenue at St. Mary’s Street.
- Westbound bicyclists will continue to use the existing westbound bicycle lanes. There are no crossings between Amory Street and St. Mary’s Street.
- As before, there will be portions of the route near the work zone where cyclists will have to walk their bicycles.
- There are additional Hubway bike rental stations on Commonwealth Avenue during the shutdown (see below).
- Commonwealth Avenue Users:
o Commonwealth Avenue (between Packard’s Corner and Kenmore Square) is closed to non-emergency and non-MBTA bus shuttle traffic (local access only) until the middle of the upcoming week.
o See the “Commonwealth Avenue Closure Detour” on the Traffic Management page.
o Access is maintained for businesses and abutting properties.
- Boston University (BU) Bridge Users:
o The BU Bridge is closed to non-emergency vehicular traffic until the middle of the upcoming week. See the “Boston University (BU) Bridge Closure Detour” on the Traffic Management page.
- I-90 (Mass Pike) Users:
o Four lanes of travel in each direction under the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge now and on very rare occasions perhaps in the coming weeks there may need to be periodic, off-peak lane reductions on I-90 for short-term durations as needed.
For MBTA Green B Line Users:
- The Green B Line in the area of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge has been replaced with shuttle buses between Babcock Street and Blandford Street Stations until the middle of the upcoming week. These buses have regular stops along the detour route for boarding/disembarking.
- For more information, please visit the Green Line page on the project website.
For MBTA Bus Users:
- MBTA Bus Routes CT2 and 47 are detoured from the normal routes until the middle of the upcoming week.
- See the MBTA Bus page on the project website.
- Route 57 Bus is operating its normal route.
MassDOT Encourages Active Transportation
- There are recently installed pedestrian and bicycle wayfinding signage near Green Line shuttle bus stops on Commonwealth Avenue and in the area of Boston University to non-motorized travel especially for short trips. The signs list walking and biking distances to specific destinations. This is helping to optimize shuttle bus operations by shortening bus wait times and headways. In general, the public will find it a ten minute walk from where the B Line trolley service will terminate due to construction and from where the B Line train service will resume.
Additional Hubway Stations
- MassDOT is partnering with Hubway to provide additional temporary Hubway stations on Commonwealth Avenue during the construction period so the public can rent a bike. These stations are located at:
o Babcock Street
o Silber Way
- Hubway Ambassadors are assisting users at these temporary locations Monday through Fridayfrom 7:00 a.m. through 10:00 a.m. and from 4:00 p.m., though 7:00 p.m., providing additional bikes on a first-come, first-serve basis. All existing Hubway stations along Commonwealth Avenue and the rest of the Hubway service area will continue to be operational.
For New Hubway Users
- Download the brand new Hubway mobile app, available for iPhone and Android.
- Use the app to find a station near you.
- You can also get a pass via the app (only $1 for a single trip or save $20 on a full annual membership during the shutdown.)
- For more information, visit thehubway.com, and download the new Hubway mobile app.
For more information, individuals are encouraged to:
- Visit the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement Project website.
- Download MassDOT’s free GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions by visiting:www.MassDOTgotime.com
- Sign up for email notices to receive public meeting notices, construction updates and traffic alerts.
- Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions on I-90 and other roads.
- Visit www.mass511.com, which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
- Download Waze, the real-time traffic navigation app.
- Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT because motor vehicle incidents which impact traffic flow are generally mentioned in tweets if they occur on the state’s major highways. Follow the MBTA on Twitter for service alerts and other information: @MBTA and @MBTA_CR
- Sign up on MassDOT’s website to receive regular communications about MassDOT projects:https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MADOT/subscriber/new
- Watch this YouTube video showing how construction work will be conducted.