Both Eversource and MassDOT contractors continued their respective work within the Phase 1 (Oxford - Sacramento) and Phase 2 (Sacramento - Park) work, conducting necessary gas service replacements and repairs as well as regularly-scheduled roadway construction. While Newport construction moved ahead to Phase 2, Eversource remained in the Phase 1 work zone to complete the gas service repairs that were discovered (and unplanned) during Newport's construction. Those crews have been working diligently to catch up to the construction schedule, and we are happy to report that they are wrapping up their repairs in Phase 1 this week.
Newport remains on schedule with their work, and anticipate completing Phase 2 by the end of August, barring any unforeseeon weather- or construction-related delays.
The detour for through traffic will remain in place between Park St. and Oxford St. through August, at which time we hope to be able to shift any necessary detours past Park St., and lessen the burden on residents and businesses in the current work zone.
NOTES and REMINDERS
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.
MassDOT has ordered "Businesses Open During Construction" signage that will be installed throughout the area in the very near future.
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.