Somerville Ave. Utility and Streetscape Improvements Project

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker stands at a podium with Mayor Joseph Curtatone to display renderings of the future of Union Square infrastructure

PROJECT UPDATE as of Februrary 2018

The Somerville Ave Utility and Streetscape Improvements project funding was approved on December 15th, 2017. The project is currently in construction bid phase, and construction will be starting in April 2018.

Upcoming Meetings: A public meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, at the Police Academy Training Room in the Public Safety Building, 220 Washington St.


The Somerville Ave. Utility and Streetscape Improvements project will begin in approximately April 2018, and will include the section of Somerville Ave. between Bow St/Washington St. (the heart of Union Square) and Medford St. (just past the Target). Note: this project is separate from the recent traffic improvements on Prospect St. and Webster Ave., and builds upon the Somerville Ave. Reconstruction project that was completed in 2010.)

This project will address legacy stormwater flooding issues in Union Square, and includes significant streetscape improvements. The entire project is anticipated to take approximately 3.5 years to complete.*

There are two major categories of work of the project: Upgrades to the underground stormwater management system and other aspects of the water and sewer systems, and enhancements to the overall streetscape.

  • Underground, the stormwater upgrades will increase capacity and reduce flooding with the installation of a 14-foot wide by 6-foot tall box culvert (a rectangular concrete structure) under Somerville Ave. from Union Square to Medford St. The 800,000 gallon box culvert will remove storm flows from the 100-year old, 72-inch brick combined sewer underneath Somerville Ave., eventually allowing this pipe to serve as a dedicated sanitary line. Water main replacements and sewer pipe lining rehabilitation will provide reliable service for many years to come.
  • Above ground, streetscape improvements will include enhanced pedestrian, transit rider, cyclist, and traffic facilities; and green stormwater infrastructure.
  • The enhanced facilities will reduce intersection crossing distances and improve sight lines between pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists. 6.5-foot wide bike lanes along either side of the street will be fully separated from the road by a raised curb and offset by a few feet.
  • Green stormwater infrastructure will be used to collect and filter runoff from 25% of the project area. This will be accomplished by new planted areas, stormwater infrastructure that will support large tree growth, and permeable surfaces on the bike paths and in some buffer areas. New permeable areas will lead to a reduction of 0.7 acres of impervious hard surface.

There will be also be utility work by Eversource in the Union Square plaza, in the heart of Union Square near the intersection of Bow St. and
Somerville Ave., and on Prospect St. The utility work is anticipated to start in March 2018. Plans showing the approximate location of this work can be found in the Plans section of the website, below.

* Project timeline may be impacted by unforeseen challenges such as inclement / severe weather, conditions of underground infrastructure, and emergencies.

For more information:

Jessica Fosbrook at 617-625-6600 ext. 5124, or e-mail [email protected].  

  • Meetings & Presentations

  • Helpful Links

  • Plans

March 14, 2018 Meeting

May 18, 2017 Meeting