As of November 23, Newport Construction and Eversource have completed necessary road and sidewalk work for the 2016 construction season. On Monday, Nov. 28, and Tuesday, Nov. 29, Newport will be painting vehicle and bicycle lane markings, and crosswalks, which will remain through the winter. They will also be along Beacon Street through December (weather permitting) to conduct minor drainage repairs to keep the project moving along as quickly as possible. There should be no impacts for you during this work, but you may notice crews in your neighborhood in December. Construction will pick back up in Spring 2017, and we will be in touch prior to the start with important updates and information. For now, here’s what you need to know to get you through the winter:
Please review, and adhere to, posted signage along Beacon Street. If and where possible, parking will be allowed on both sides of Beacon Street, however, after further review by public safety officials and transportation planning teams, it has been determined that parking will not be available on both sides for the full length of the street. We understand, recognize, and do our best to plan for the needs of vehicles in this area, and will continue to review plans as possible in the coming weeks and months, as well as monitor vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic flow along the corridor.
Temporary bicycle infrastructure, including Sharrows, and in some cases temporary bike lanes, will be painted along the entire corridor for the winter season. The protected bike lane on the south side of Beacon Street will be opened, and signage added, as conditions allow* (in case of snow emergency, please consider using alternate routes.)
We know that living through major construction can be difficult, and we sincerely appreciate your patience and cooperation during this first major phase of the project. Thank you!
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.