Paving Update as of 8/31, 4pm: Paving operations originally scheduled for 8/31 are TENTATIVELY scheduled for Thurs., 9/1, WEATHER PERMITTING. Contractors are monitoring forecasts, which currently call for a high probability of rain on Thursday. In the event that rain remains in the forecast, paving operations will not be able to proceed on Thursday, and will be rescheduled. While additional updates will be provided to residents tomorrow (Thursday), we encourage residents to park outside of this work zone prior to 7 a.m. Thursday in anticipation that paving will be able to move forward. To receive updates via email, please sign up for the Beacon Street Email Updates listserv.
Newport Construction has completed their on-street work between Roseland St. and Sacramento St., and repaved this section of Beacon St. While additional sidewalk and bike lane work will need to be addressed as the project continues, we are well on our way toward some more normalcy between Oxford St. and Park St. in the coming weeks!
Additionally, this week, Eversource completed their gas service repairs between Oxford St. and Park St., which will allow crews to pave the remaining section of Beacon St. in this area.
Once both sections have been paved, two-way traffic will be allowed on Beacon St., from Park St. continuing onto Porter Sq.
Due to the dense graded material that has been laid as a pre-paving layer, and the nature in which it must be treated, water is being used on-site in an attempt to keep dust particles to a minimum. Because much of the state of Massachusetts is currently under severe drought conditions, dust control has been more difficult. As of Thursday, August 25, contractors will be increasing their application of water in the afternoon, evenings, and on weekends. While it is our goal to keep this dust to a minimum, please be assured that the only material that is airborne at any time is simply particles from crushed stone and gravel.
Weather permitting, paving will be completed as follows:
Monday, Aug. 29: Cooney, Forest, and Museum Sts.
Wednesday, Aug. 31: Beacon St., between Sacramento and Park Sts.
Newport and Eversource will continue their preparation for the next phase of construction, between Park St. and Washington St., however we anticipate that following paving operations next week, traffic will return to normal between Park St. and Somerville Ave. Stay tuned for additional information at the conclusion of paving operations next week!
The end of the construction season will be November, 2016. At that time, construction operations will be suspended for the winter, and parking between Oxford St. and Washington St. is expected to be restored (SOUTH SIDE ONLY). Information will be provided in the coming weeks and months prior to the end of the construction season.
NOTES and REMINDERS
Attention Cyclists and Pedestrians: MassDOT will be posting advisory dismount signs for cyclists riding the sidewalk in designated work zones. This is to ensure the safety of those walking. The Somerville Police Department will continue to monitor bike and pedestrian interactions along the corridor as the project progresses.
If you are moving into or out of a home in a designated work zone, please be advised that PODS will not be allowed in these areas during the construction period. Parking permits for moving trucks or moving vans should be obtained 10 days in advance in order to allow staff to determine the safest place for the trucks. If you have questions, please call 311.
In 2016, MassDOT will begin a full-depth reconstruction of Beacon Street, which will improve the lifespan of the road by rebuilding the sub-surface, grading the surface for positive drainage, and installing a new high-quality asphalt surface. The roadway design will improve the safety and flow of traffic, while dramatically improving pedestrian accessibility and bicycle safety.
Improvements Above and Below Ground
Improvements will include:
New sidewalks and new crosswalks
Traffic and pedestrian signal upgrades between Oxford St. and the Cambridge City line.
New curbing and other drainage upgrades will be installed.
Tree canopy and landscaping will be dramatically improved, with more than 200 new tree plantings in high-quality planter boxes.
A separated bicycle facility along some portions of the corridor will provide enhanced protection for cyclists by physically separating bicyclists from vehicle traffic. This technique is a national standard intended to serve all ages and abilities of bicyclists, rather than just the young, strong or fearless who are comfortable riding in mixed traffic.
A full-depth reconstruction means that crews will dig all the way down to the base layer to completely replace the roadway. The new surface will thus be far less prone to pot holing than it is currently.
In 2015, water and sewer pipes were repaired using a cutting-edge, trenchless method to give the existing pipes a new structural lining. This involves injecting a coating into the pipes that lines the old pipe, hardens, and effectively creates a new pipe within the old pipe. The method requires less time, money, and excavation than traditional dig-and-cut pipe replacement.
Building a Better Bike Lane
Beacon Street reconstruction is Somerville's first roadway project that will include an exclusive bike lane that is separated from the roadway and traffic. Unlike bike lanes marked by a stripe of paint, separation can be achieved through pavement markings, curbs/medians, on-street parking, bollards, or a combination of these elements.
Parking will be removed to balance multi-modal needs along this busy corridor. On street parking on the even side of Beacon Street between Oxford Street and Museum Street will be preserved, but on-street parking on the odd-side between Oxford and Museum will be removed. Between Museum Street and Park Street that alignment will flip: on-street parking will be preserved on the odd-site, but removed on the even-side. Between Washington Street and Dickinson Street, on-street parking will be preserved on both sides of the street. Based on current use levels, a parking study determined that enough parking capacity would remain in the area despite this reduction in spaces.
As of 2015, the league of American Bicyclists ranked Somerville #3 in the country and #1 in the region for the percentage of bike commuters at 7.8%. The City's semi-annual Bike and Pedestrian Counts have repeatedly shown Beacon Street to be the city's most heavily used corridor with over 500+ cyclists during peaks hours. The installation of the separated bike lane will promote traffic safety for all road users while supporting the ever-increasing bicycling volumes along this multi-modal corridor.
Will there be any posted detours allowing bicyclists to avoid the construction?
The City encourages cyclists to use alternative routes during the construction. A recommended detour route has been prepared in partnership between the Somerville Traffic & Parking Department, the Somerville Police Department, and the Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee. These routes will be marked with vertical signage.