NOTE: Beacon St. Closed from Park St. to Washington St. Through October. More information below:
Last Weeks' Accomplishments
Newport Construction completed initial excavation of the portion of Beacon St. between Park St. and Washington St., and continued work on sidewalks and curbing, as well as preparation for the Cycle Track on the north side of Beacon Street.
Eversource Gas initiated gas service replacements in the current work zone alongside regularly scheduled construction activity. Additionally, Eversource crews will continue more detailed work in front of Star Market. While there are no direct impacts to constituents in this area, roadway and sidewalk excavation in that immediate work zone may extend beyond the mid-October scope. Updates will be provided as this work continues.
Temporary crosswalk/pedestrian markings were painted along the paved portion of Beacon St., between Oxford and Park Streets. Additionally, the crosswalks at the intersection(s) with Washington St. were repainted.
All other work is expected to continue, weather permitting, through mid-October.
Newport and Eversource will continue with regularly-scheduled reconstruction and repairs between Park St. and Washington St., through mid-October (weather permitting.
Between Oxford St. and Park St., additional work on sidewalks and within the area designated for a Cycle Track will continue as well. Any properties to be directly impacted by sidewalk excavation will be notified in advance by work crews.
Detours will remain in place through mid-October unless otherwise noted, as follows:
Eastbound: Park St. to Somerville Ave. to Dane St. to Washington St.
Westbound: Washington St. to Dane St. to Somerville Ave. to Park St.
For Cyclists: Cyclists are encouraged to use dedicated detours, which can be found on the Beacon Street Reconstruction Page, with images.
Porter to Inman
Inman to Porter
MBTA route #83 detours:
INBOUND (from Porter Sq.): Continue on Somerville Ave. to Union Sq., right on Washington St., left on Beacon St. to normal route.
OUTBOUND (from Hampshire St.): Left on Cambridge St., right on Quincy St., right on Kirkland St. to Washington St., left on Dane St., left on Somerville Ave. to normal route.
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.