Removal of Overhead Wires Begins on Mt. Auburn Street as Part of the Reconstruction Project

Print More
An MBTA bus traveling on Mount Auburn Street using the Overhead Catenary System, which will be removed as part of preconstruction work for the project. (Photo from City of Watertown)

The City of Watertown announced that preparation work for the Mt. Auburn Street reconstruction project will begin this week. See the announcement below.

The Mount Auburn Street project team is pleased to announce that roadway and sidewalk construction is anticipated to begin in Spring 2024. Work will begin at the Cambridge city line moving west segment by segment towards Watertown Square until the project boundary just west of Patten Street.

In preparation for the beginning of roadway work, Dagle Electric will start removing the Overhead Catenary System along Mount Auburn Street. This work will begin tonight, May 13, 2024, and is anticipated to last six weeks, with work being completed overnight from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM each night.

The Overhead Catenary System includes the electrical lines previously being used to power MBTA route 71 and 73 buses. Tree protection is expected to begin very soon throughout Mount Auburn Street. None of the preparation work is expected to disrupt traffic on Mount Auburn Street.  

This project is being managed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), who contracted Newport Construction to perform the work. The City remains committed to keeping residents informed of project work and impacts.  

The Mount Auburn Street project was initiated after a conceptual design was endorsed by the Town Council in November 2018. The Project Team submitted the 25% Design to the MassDOT in January 2020, and MassDOT held a 25% Design Public Hearing on November 4, 2021. Since then, the project team has submitted 100% Design plans for the corridor. 

The Mount Auburn Street Project will transform the corridor into a Complete Street, providing safe and accessible options for all modes. This project will also provide increased efficiency on the MBTA Bus Route 71, improve traffic operations and pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, improve accessibility in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and improved aesthetics. 

We will post construction schedules and other work notifications consistently on the project website, and via the City’s social media accounts. You can sign up to receive project email updates here

4 thoughts on “Removal of Overhead Wires Begins on Mt. Auburn Street as Part of the Reconstruction Project

  1. Let’s hope this project is better managed and those residents affected are better informed of its progress than has the water and gas main replacement project on Common, Bellevue and Russell. It’s been a nightmare for those of us living in the area. I count 8 straight months of rerouted traffic, neglected street maintenance, equipment dangers and ineffective traffic management. A big miss for the City’s administration. We are all getting tired of hearing, “Well, it’s the utility companies doings and there’s not a lot we can do.” Show us some leadership. Finish this cluster!

  2. Glad to hear that the wires are coming down, but should I assume that the poles that hold up the wires are coming down with the renovation of the street or is that an unrealistic expectation??

  3. My question is, why are we continuing to eliminate overhead lines and trackless trollies with the increased need to lower emissions? It has been ongoing for a long time. I would like to know the reasoning behind the decision to eliminate them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *