Full-Depth Reconstruction Starting May 2016

Illustration of the future of Beacon Street showing cars and pedestrians traveling together safely

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.



  • Updates & Alerts

  • Project Overview

  • MassDOT Meetings

  • Plans

  • Presentations & Notes

Updated 5/12/2017

Last Week's Accomplishments

Gioioso conducted necessary pre-construction work in the vicinities of Sartwell Ave., and Cedar Ave., in anticipation of upcoming work this construction season. Most of this work was completed, however some additional work will continue into next week to install catch basins and hoods, which will eliminate some odors which residents have alerted us to.

Construction Look Ahead

During the week of May 15, Gioioso will install catch basins and hoods. This work will not require road closures, but will likely include parking restrictions. Please review posted signage.

Beginning the week of May 22, and possibly extending into the following week, Gioioso will repave a portion of Elm St., between Somerville Ave. and Cedar St. At this time we do not anticipate any street or lane closures, but may require parking restrictions. If at any time the on-site police detail deems traffic conditions unsafe, they may make a determination to close all or a portion of the street. Roads will remain open during school drop-off periods.

Beginning this week, our project contractor, P. Gioioso, will restart portions of the Cedar St. project. While this work will not yet require the closure of Cedar St. to vehicle traffic, some parking restrictions will be in effect beginning on Monday, April 24, in the vicinity of the intersection of Cedar St. and Hall St. This week's work will be a sewer by-pass in preparation for upcoming construction this season, however it will not require interruption to your water service.

Parking Restrictions

Washington Street – Cambridge Line

Eversource will post temporary No Parking signs in work zones as necessary. Please review posted signage.

Oxford Street – Washington Street

Newport Construction will post temporary No Parking signs as needed to complete sidewalk work safely and efficiently. Please review posted signage.

Important Reminders

Contractors are conducting pre-blast surveys of all homes within a 250 foot radius of the intersection of Cedar St. and Summer St. in advance of "blasting" which is scheduled to begin later this summer. As a reminder, as we hope to move as quickly as possible through the spring, and with the least amount of disruption to abutters, the City plans to utilize a combination of methods which includes “blasting,” a technique commonly used in municipalities across the Commonwealth. Blasting is a highly regulated and monitored activity. Compared to the alternative, mechanical hammering, this technique is quicker, quieter, less intrusive, and more efficient at breaking rock. Utilization of blasting will expedite the installation of the drain, water and sewer pipes, resulting in less disruption to residents. Earlier this year we held a community meeting to discuss this plan, and the presentation can be found online at www.somervillema.gov/cedarstreet. Additionally, if you have any questions, please contact the Somerville Engineering Department at 617-625-6600 ext. 5400.

Bicycle Information and Detours

For the duration of the 2017 construction season, the protected bike lane (Oxford to Washington) will be closed. While bicyclists are always welcome to use the full travel lane, we strongly recommend that bicyclists use the MassDOT approved detour routes, which are supported by the City. Suggested detour routes can be found at:

As always, bicyclists may opt to use the full travel lane(s), however please take note that lane shifts and narrower travel lanes will be in effect throughout construction season.


At this time, we do not anticipate any major detours through the spring portion of construction. Lane shifts will be in effect between Washington St. and the Cambridge line in order to allow two-way traffic. As updates or changes arise, you will be notified in advance. Please note that beginning in July (approximate), Newport Construction will begin reconstruction work in this section, which may require the use of detour routes onto heavily residential streets. We anticipate hosting a community meeting or forum in advance to provide updates and answer questions. Please stay tuned for more information as we have a more finalized schedule this spring.

If you have questions, concerns, or a report of a health or safety hazard, please call 311 (for emergencies, always call 911).

More Information

Please explore the other tabs on this page (above) for project background, FAQs, and other important information.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the project staff:

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.

The bike facility type is supported by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide, Federal Highway Adminisrtation (FHWA) Separated Bike Lane Planning & Design Guide, and MassDOT's Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide.

Balancing Multi-Modal Needs

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. 

Bicycle Detours

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.

Please see the detour routes below:

Contact Us

General inquires:
Please call 311 from any phone within the City, or contact 311 by dialing 617-666-3311 from anywhere

Reporting Construction Hazards:
Call 311, which will be routed to all City and MassDOT project staff, including the private contractor.

Meeting Date





3/15/2013 Presentation
1/28/2013 Presentation
11/13/2012 Presentation



9/18/2012 Presentation


Beacon St. Bike & Pedestrian Analysis