$14.5 Million Reconstruction of Massachusetts Avenue from St. Botolph to Albany Street Now Underway

The following are Massachusetts Avenue Construction Details as discussed at the Mass Ave Task Force
meeting on Thursday, September 24, 2009:

Massachusetts Highway Department Information:
Mike Cameron
Project Manager
Mass Highway will oversee the actually construction and supervise the work of the general contractor.

Contractor Information:
Mario Susi & Son, Inc.
Chris Sacardi

Work Hours and Dates:

  • Typical work day is from 7:00am-3:30pm on weekdays only.
  • Completion slated for November 2011.
  • City, Mass Highway and the contractor, ask for residents’ patience during two year construction.  Inconveniences of construction will be followed by the benefits of a new street, including new sidewalks, street lights, roadway surface, intersections and landscape.
  • Project will be completed in phases by block
    • First block of work from St. Botolph to Columbus Ave has already started, mostly on the southbound side.
    • By working to the end of that block and switching to other side of the road, then going back to start of that block, the contractor will complete a full block one side at a time. Construction will repeat in a similar fashion for each block of Mass Ave.
      • This does not mean construction will be completely maintained to one area.  Some work, whether laying conduit, piping, or performing winter construction, will still be done throughout the length of Mass Ave.
      • Though the contractor has planned the project in phases, the contractor has the right to work on any part of the roadway necessary for the project as a whole.  Therefore, the entire construction area has been prepared for this possibility, including tree wrappings the length of Mass Ave and down some intersecting roadways.
        • This wrapping is meant to protect trees during construction, since most trees will be preserved for the new design.
    • Expected completion of Columbus Ave to St. Botolph block is before the end of the year.
  • Most construction seasonal work and can be done only during warmer months.
    • If weather is nice in the winter, crews will continue with work that is not temperature dependent, such as laying pipe or conduit.
    • A certain temperature is necessary for asphalt and concrete pouring, so this cannot be done in cold weather.
  • Traffic counts used for project design have not changed, project still using 44,000 cars per day on Mass Ave figure.
  • Mass Highway construction team has offered to walk completed phases of the project with WalkBoston, advocacy group, and BTD.
  • Problems with construction site, including lack of appropriate access for disabled, can be addressed with the Mass Highway team or with the contractor directly.

Scope of Work:
Work includes:

  • Digging and setting up underground infrastructure for street lighting and traffic lights
  • New Street lights
  • New Traffic Lights
  • Resetting curbs
  • Reconstructing sidewalks
    • New brick sidewalks
      • This will involve laying asphalt and then brick.
    • Brick installed from MBTA bridge at Southwest Corridor to Harrison Avenue.
    • St Botolph to MBTA bridge at southwest corridor remains concrete.
    • Brick work to be done by a subcontractor, under supervision of the contractor.
    • Brick subcontractor will use wire cut brick which will create the smoothest most uniform brick surface possible.
    • Brick is being used because it meets local historical requirements; also meeting these requirements is a necessity for any federally funded project.
    • Sidewalk repairs will wrap around to intersecting streets to a certain point, until the closest and most logical stopping point.
  • Roadway resurfacing
  • Repainting lanes and crosswalks
    • Bike lanes are proposed for the plan, five feet wide on each side of the street.
  • Plantings and landscape
    • One of the last steps; most likely after all other construction the length of the project is completed.
    • BU is generously maintaining much of the landscape and plantings.
  • Healthy trees will remain, as long as they do not compromise the sidewalk path of travel, only dead or dying trees will be removed.
    • New trees will most likely be planted in the Spring
  • New signalized crosswalk will be installed at MBTA Massachusetts Avenue orange line station.
    • This is pending the MBTA permitting process.
    • Some improvements to the sidewalk and roadway on the bridge will also be subject to MBTA permitting, and thus may be completed toward the end of the project.

Important Logistics Pertaining to Residents and Business Owners:
Parking:
During construction parking on one side of the road in the block of work will be restricted, no parking will be allowed on that side of the road within that block of the construction site.

Residents request that parking on the opposite side of construction be marked South End resident parking to mitigate parking impacts for the Columbus to Tremont block and the Shawmut to Washington Block. Currently, the parking along the Columbus to Tremont block of Mass Ave and the Shawmut to Washington block of Mass Ave is unrestricted.  BTD will work with residents and business owners on this change.

Driving, Biking and Traffic Implications:
During construction contractor will try to maintain two lanes of traffic at all times, achieved through removing the median during construction and shifting traffic to utilize that space for travel.  However, the contractor could reduce traffic to one lane each way between the hours of 9:30am and 3:30pm.

For bicycle and driver awareness residents informed BTD and Mass Highway of a sign DCR uses for the bridge construction near the museum of science. The sign relays a message about bikes using the lane of traffic during construction.  Residents request such a sign for this project, and BTD and Mass Highway will evaluate.

Safety:
Project will use detailed police officers in specific situations to allow for the safest possible conditions.  Residents are particularly concerned with the crosswalk at Shawmut and Massachusetts Avenue where school children cross, and other blocks where crossing guards will escort children near construction.  Additional Police details will be used in such circumstances that require careful attention.

Notes for Residential Property Owners and Residents in Immediate Area:
Residents are encouraged to make all necessary utility repairs that require street cuts before construction on their block.  Planning ahead to prevent unnecessary cuts for as long as possible on the newly constructed roadway will ensure the longevity of this investment.

The contractor has taken video and pictures of existing conditions.  Residents can also take their own pictures of current conditions.  The conditions of the private property will be maintained or restored to their original state.

Residents undertaking their own improvements of their private property adjacent to construction, such as stairways, should know that sidewalk improvements and construction conditions could impact the interface between public and private property, such as level of the sidewalk.

Contractors will work with homeowners on a case by case basis should issues arise.

No resident will be prevented from accessing their home, sidewalk access will be limited on an entire block for construction, but contractor can make a means of access for residents.  Constructions includes digging a trench for street light conduit, which contractors will have to put planks over to allow residents passage on the sidewalk and access to their home.

Businesses:
When construction affects businesses on the block, the contractor will leaflet and visit in person the affected businesses.  The construction plan that goes by block allows the contractor to give some warning, and business owners to be made aware of upcoming construction.

For more information please contact Tabitha Bennett, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services at (617) 635-3485 or tabitha.bennett@cityofboston.gov

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