Full-Depth Reconstruction Starting Spring 2016
Beacon Street is an aging urban roadway in need of major utility and roadway upgrades. This full-depth reconstruction will improve the function and flow of traffic, while dramatically improving pedestrian and bike infrastructure. The plan includes new sidewalks, new crosswalks, curbing, and improved drainage as well as traffic and pedestrian signal upgrades between Oxford St. and the Cambridge City line.
This is also Somerville’s first roadway project that will include a cycle track - a bike lane that physically separates bicyclists from vehicle traffic. In our ongoing efforts to increase the city's tree canopy and employ greenery in traffic calming, the project will also include more than 175 new trees. The total cost of $9 million is funded in full by the federal government and the State. All project presentations and project plans are available on the right-hand side bar on this page.
Improvements Both Above and Below Ground
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. Prior to road resurfacing, water and sewer pipes are also being 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. To see how this is done, please see This Short video  (the video is just an example).
Spring 2015 -- Sewer and water repairs begun
Summer 2015 -- Temporary and permanent easements acquired
August 2015 -- State placed project out to bid
Fall 2015 -- Sewer and water repairs to be completed
October 2015 -- Interim surface improvements to be completed
November 2015 -- Contract to be awarded by State
Spring 2016 -- Reconstruction to begin
2018 -- Completion of the project is expected during the 2018 construction season
Somerville's First Cycle Track
Beacon Street reconstruction is Somerville’s first roadway project that will include a cycle track. A cycle track is an exclusive bike lane that is separated from the roadway and traffic. Unlike bike lanes marked by a stripe of paint, cycle tracks may be separated by pavement markings, curbs/medians, on-street parking, bollards, or a combination of these elements. This bike facility type is supported by both The National Association of City Transportation officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Separated Bike Lane Planning & Design Guide.
To accommodate the cycle track design, parking will be removed on one side of the street from Oxford St. to Washington St. Based on current use levels, a parking study determined that enough parking capacity would remain in the area despite this reduction in spaces. Nonetheless, the city is looking for additional off-street parking options. 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 cycle track will promote traffic safety for all road users while supporting the ever increasing bicycling volumes along this multi-modal corridor. For an example of how cycle tracks work, please see This Short Video.
Road Resurfaced Oct. 22 & 23, 2015
On Thursday, Oct. 22, and Friday, Oct. 23, a MassDOT contractor installed a temporary pavement layer over the entire length of Beacon St. as an interim measure to improve roadway conditions prior to the full-scale reconstruction project.
Coming Construction Detours