Full-Depth Reconstruction Starting May 2016
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
Presentations & Notes
Updates & Alerts
There are important project updates that our team would like to share with you. Please join Alderman Heuston, MassDOT, Design Consultants Inc., Newport Construction, Eversource, and the City of Somerville on Monday, June 26, at 6:30 p.m. for a community meeting. The meeting will be held in the Argenziano School cafeteria at 290 Washington St. We will present updates on the project, accomplishments thus far, and the project timeline, followed by a Q&A.
Washington Street – Cambridge Line
Eversource contractors will continue work to between Washington St. and the Cambridge city line. As part of this work, Beacon Place will remain closed to traffic, however abutters should speak with on-site contractors if you need access to your property.
Parking restrictions will be posted in approximately 500 foot sections of each workzone in order to allow two-way traffic. Lane shifts will be in use during work hours, so please use caution in the work zone. Should conditions change, or if emergency repair work does require any full road closures, you will be notified in advance.
Oxford Street – Washington Street
During the week of June 19, Newport Construction will continue sidewalk work between Sacramento Street and Kent St. Residents will receive additional notification from Newport Construction as work proceeds to or near your home or business, and another notice 48 hours prior to concrete being poured directly abutting your property. Additionally, accommodations should be made to ensure you have access to your home or business at all times.
Also during the week of June 19, Newport expects to complete final repairs and installation of drainage utilities and new sewer hoods. Work will begin at or near Forest St., and progress toward Park St. These final improvements will also be important in eliminating odors that had been reported in the area of Oxford St. during warmer weather. In the coming weeks, please contact 311 if this issue does not improve so that we can further investigate (though we do not anticipate that this issue will persist once drainage repairs are complete).
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.
Bicyle 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).
Please check out Beacon Street Reconstruction project page for project background and FAQs and other important information.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the project staff:
- The City of Somerville’s Constituent Service Center: 311 (617-666-3311), 311Updates@somervillema.gov.
- City of Somerville Deputy Director of Communications, Jackie Rossetti: 617-625-6600 ext. 2614, JRossetti@somervillema.gov
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.
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:
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.