The Federal Highway Administration and MassDOT have set aside funding for the reconstruction of Beacon St. Working with the City of Somerville, the intent of the project is to design a state-of-the-art roadway that increases the access, safety and mobility for all modes in the corridor.
A "Full-Depth Reconstruction"
Beacon Street will undergo a full-depth reconstruction, which 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. The State expects to go out to bid on this project in fall 2014. 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.
Prior to road resurfacing, water and sewer pipes will also be repaired - using a cutting-edge process that will result in less inconvenience to residents. The City is contemplating a method for the repair of existing pipelines that is designed to cause less disruption from construction because very little digging is required. In this "trenchless" method, pipes are given a new "structural lining," which 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 and it does not reflect support for the company that made the video or the exact details of the method that will be used).
Proposal of a Cycletrack
(Photo: Dan Reed)
A cycle track is a bike lane that is separated from the roadway and traffic by some form of physical barrier. Unlike bike lanes marked only by a stripe of paint, cycle tracks may be bordered by wider no-drive zones, flexible barriers, or a curb. To accommodate the cycle track, parking spaces would 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.
The City's semi-annual Bike and Pedestrian Counts have repeatedly shown Beacon St. to be the city's most heavily used bike corridor and one of the most heavily traveled in the Boston region. The City recommends the installation of a cycle track to promote both safety and improved traffic flow. But public feedback is still being sought and will be fully considered. For an example of how cycle tracks work, please see this short video .
Unlike the recent rehabilitation of Somerville Ave. or Magoun Square, the Beacon Street project is restricted to roadway reconstruction and roadway features. It is not a full streetscape project. However, in addition to a vastly improved road surface and the proposed cycle track, new crosswalks, signals, signal timing, and crosswalk countdown lights will be installed. All of these items are open for public feedback.
Funding for the project requires that design be complete one year from now in Sept. 2013. Public meetings that will provide information about the progress of the project will continue through February, with each meeting progressing to a more detailed level of information.