Full-Depth Reconstruction Starting May 2016

Illustration of the future of Beacon Street showing cars and pedestrians traveling together safely

In 2016, MassDOT began 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.

 

 

  • Updates & Alerts

  • Project Overview

  • MassDOT Meetings

  • Plans

  • Presentations & Notes

Updated 4/13/2018

Upcoming Construction Schedule

As a reminder, the full-depth reconstruction between Washington St. and Buckingham St. will begin on Tuesday, April 17. Newport does not anticipate the closure of Beacon St. and will not detour vehicles off of Beacon St. during construction. Using police details, vehicle traffic will be maintained in an alternating pattern through the work zone. To accommodate this traffic plan, there will be parking restrictions between Washington St. and Buckingham St., on both sides of Beacon St. Please review posted signage. It is anticipated that work within this zone will take approximately 6 weeks to complete before Newport moves to the final section (Buckingham St. to Dickinson St.). 

During the week of April 17, you can expect to see the following activity between Washington St. and Buckingham St.:

  • On Tuesday, April 17, Newport will mill (remove existing pavement) between Washington St. and Buckingham Street.
  • On Wednesday, April 18, Newport will begin full road box excavation between Washington St. and Buckingham Street.
  • Installation of curb and concrete on ADA ramps at the intersections of Greenwood, Stanford, Miller, Eustis, Durha, and Properzi.
  • Installation of traffic bases and conduit at Park St. and Sacramento St.
  • The suggested detour for all bicycle traffic remains in place, and is available at www.somervillema.gov/beaconstreet.

For the above work, parking restrictions will be in place from Washington St. to Buckingham St.

Note: During excavation, while there are no long-term detours planned at this time, there may be brief periods of time where residents of abutting streets (such as Calvin and Waldo) will not be able to exit directly onto Beacon Street. These periods are estimated to be no longer than approximately 2 hours, when contractors are working at the intersections with those streets. Residents will be advise to drive away from Beacon Street (even if your street is a one way) during those periods of time. While we will do our best to notify you when crews will be in that area, it may be difficult to predict with exact certainty as the work may vary from day to day.

During the week of April 23, you can expect to see the following activity between Washington St. and Buckingham St.:

  • Continued excavation between Washington St. and Buckingham Street.
  • Installation of curb and concrete on ADA ramps on Beacon St. between Roseland St. and Oxford St.
  • Installation of traffic bases and conduit at Park St. and Sacramento St.
  • The suggested detour for all bicycle traffic remains in place, and is available at www.somervillema.gov/beaconstreet.
  • For the above work, parking restrictions will be in place from Washington St. to Buckingham St.
  • TENTATIVE: Pending the tree hearing on April 23, tree removal is scheduled for April 27.

Note: During excavation, while there are no long-term detours planned at this time, there may be brief periods of time where residents of abutting streets (such as Calvin and Waldo) will not be able to exit directly onto Beacon Street. These periods are estimated to be no longer than approximately 2 hours, when contractors are working at the intersections with those streets. Residents will be advise to drive away from Beacon Street (even if your street is a one way) during those periods of time. While we will do our best to notify you when crews will be in that area, it may be difficult to predict with exact certainty as the work may vary from day to day.

Tree Hearing April 23

There are 7 trees remaining along Beacon Street that are scheduled for removal as defined in the project plans. The trees are located as follows:

  • 111 Beacon 
  • 85 Beacon
  • 45/47 Beacon (at Whole Foods)
  • 45/47 Beacon (between the two driveways at Whole Foods)
  • 23 Beacon (note: this tree has been deemed to be dead by a Certified Arborist)
  • 15/17 Beacon
  • 11 Beacon

Per state law, there will be a tree hearing prior to the removal of those trees on Monday, April 23 (because the tree at 23 Beacon St. is dead it will not be included in the hearing). The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at the Public Safety Building, 220 Washington St. Any objections to their removal must be submitted in writing prior to or during the hearing. Written objections should be addressed to Somerville Tree Warden, and emailed to: [email protected], or mailed to: 1 Franey Rd., Somerville, MA. 02145.

Note: There has been much discussion surrounding the removal of trees along Beacon Street, and whether those trees were called out for removal in the final project plans. The plans have not changed from 2015. These are the most recent and the final plans. Within the current plan the estimate you see calls for 30 trees to be removed, but this estimate only includes those with a diameter of over 9 inches but less than 24”. All other trees are considered incidental work under “unclassified excavation,” but are still called out in the plan. 

Questions?

Please check out Beacon Street Reconstruction project page for project background and FAQs and other important information. 

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the project staff:

  • City of Somerville Deputy Director of Communications, Jackie Rossetti: 617-625-6600 ext. 2614, [email protected]
  • The City of Somerville’s Constituent Service Center: 311 (617-666-3311), [email protected].

Thank you!

 

 

Updated 4/10/2018

Due to the nature of the work that begins this week on Beacon St. and the need to continue to allow two-way traffic at all times, the temporary parking restrictions in the area of Washington St. – Buckingham St. will be enforced at all times, not just during work hours. Again, please review signage regularly as the times are subject to change.


Update 4/5/2018

With warmer weather approaching, construction projects citywide will begin again in April. On Beacon Street, Newport Construction plans to mobilize their crews during the week of April 9, with the heavier construction beginning the week of April 17. Note, however, that you will see crews conducting adjustments and installing a new traffic signal mast arm at the intersection of Park St. beginning this week. While there is no planned road closure for this work, police details will assist the subcontractor, Dagle Electric, with an alternating traffic pattern between the hours of 9 a.m. and approximately 3:30 p.m.

During the week of April 9, you can expect to see the following work on Beacon St. in preparation for full construction the following week.

  • Dagle will continue installing mast arms and signal heads at the intersection with Park St., and move on to the intersection with Sacramento St.
  • Newport will install curbing and complete work and repairs on ADA ramps at the intersections of Greenwood, Stanford, Miller, Eustis, Durham, and Properzi.
  • For the above work, parking restrictions will be in place from Washington St. to Buckingham St. during work hoursUpdate: Due to the nature of the work that begins this week on Beacon St. and the need to continue to allow two-way traffic at all times, the temporary parking restrictions in the area of Washington St. – Buckingham St. will be enforced at all times, not just during work hours. Again, please review signage regularly as the times are subject to change.
  • Two-way vehicle traffic is expected to be maintained during this week.
  • The suggested detour for all bicycle traffic remains in place:

During the week of April 17, heavier construction and excavation will begin between Washington St. and Buckingham St. (approximately 1,000 feet). Crews do not anticipate the closure of Beacon St. and will not detour vehicles off of Beacon St. during construction. Using police details, vehicle traffic will be maintained in an alternating pattern through the work zone. To accommodate this traffic plan, there will be parking restrictions between Washington St. and Buckingham St., on both sides of Beacon St. Please review posted signage. It is anticipated that work within this zone will take approximately 6 weeks to complete before Newport moves to the final section (Buckingham St. to Dickinson St.). During the week of April 17, you can expect to see the following activity between Washington St. and Buckingham St.:

  • On Tuesday, April 17, Newport will mill (remove existing pavement) between Washington St. and Buckingham Street.
  • On Wednesday, April 17, Newport will begin full road box excavation between Washington St. and Buckingham Street.
  • Installation of curb and concrete on ADA ramps at the intersections of Greenwood, Stanford, Miller, Eustis, Durham and Properzi.
  • The suggested detour for all bicycle traffic remains in place, and is available at www.somervillema.gov/beaconstreet.
  • For the above work, parking restrictions will be in place from Washington St. to Buckingham St. during work hours. Please review posted signage each day for times and dates of the parking restrictions, as they may change.

Note: During excavation, while there are no long-term detours planned at this time, there may be brief periods of time where residents of abutting streets (such as Calvin and Waldo) will not be able to exit directly onto Beacon Street. These periods are estimated to be no longer than approximately 2 hours when contractors are working at the intersections with those streets. Residents will be advised to drive away from Beacon Street (even if your street is a one way) during those periods of time. While we will do our best to notify you when crews will be in that area, it may be difficult to predict with exact certainty as the work may vary from day today.

Important Information About Tree Work

There are 7 trees remaining along Beacon Street that are scheduled for removal as defined in the project plans. The trees are located as follows:

  • 111 Beacon
  • 85 Beacon
  • 45/47 Beacon (at Whole Foods)
  • 45/47 Beacon (between the two driveways at Whole Foods)
  • 23 Beacon (note: this tree has been deemed to be dead by a Certified Arborist)
  • 15/17 Beacon
  • 11 Beacon

Per state law, there will be a tree hearing prior to the removal of those trees on Monday, April 23 (because the tree at 23 Beacon St. is dead it will not be included in the hearing). The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at the Public Safety Building, 220 Washington St. Any objections to their removal must be submitted in writing prior to or during the hearing. Written objections should be addressed to Somerville Tree Warden, and emailed to: [email protected], or mailed to: 1 Franey Rd., Somerville, MA. 02145.

 Note: There has been much discussion surrounding the removal of trees along Beacon Street, and whether those trees were called out for removal in the final project plans. The plans have not changed from 2015. These are the most recent and the final plans. Within the current plan the estimate you see calls for 30 trees to be removed, but this estimate only includes those with a diameter of over 9 inches but less than 24”. All other trees are considered incidental work under “unclassified excavation,” but are still called out in the plan.

Community Meeting Recap

On Monday, March 19, there was a community meeting to discuss upcoming construction. The meeting minutes can be viewed at this link.

More Information

Please check out Beacon Street Reconstruction project page for project background and FAQs and other important information. 

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the project staff:

  • City of Somerville Deputy Director of Communications, Jackie Rossetti: 617-625-6600 ext. 2614, [email protected]
  • The City of Somerville’s Constituent Service Center: 311 (617-666-3311), [email protected].

Updated 3/2/2018 

Please join Ward 2 Alderman JT Scott, the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development, MassDOT and Beacon St. Reconstruction Project staff on Monday, March 19, for a community meeting to discuss the ongoing roadway reconstruction. The team will provide updates on the 2018 construction season and answer questions from attendees. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Argenziano School, at 290 Washington St.

If you have any questions, please contact Jackie Rossetti at 617-625-6600 ext. 2614, or [email protected].

(Update 4/5/2018: Meeting minutes are now available here.)


Updated 11/23/2017

Going into the Thanksgiving weekend, please be advised of the following changes and conditions along Beacon Street. Also please note that the construction teams’ final meeting before the winter season will be held on Thursday, November 30, and we will provide a full winter update at that time.

For this long weekend, Newport is now off-site and will remain off-site until next week. While major operations have now ended, there are some final items to complete including additional line striping (this has been challenging due to recent weather, however lines will be stripped as soon as possible and we will work to update you when crews become available and weather conditions are favorable). Additionally, signage will be installed along the corridor, including remaining stop signs at side streets as well as permanent signage along the section of Beacon St. between Oxford and Washington. Note that signage installation may continue through the winter months as weather allows.

The protected bike lane between Oxford and Washington is also now open, though not in its final condition, for the winter. Because it is not in final condition, we encourage bicyclists to continue to use the marked detour route when possible, and when using the protected facility on Beacon St., to use caution. Because this is a new facility, we encourage residents in this area to consider the following tips with regard to the protected bike facility:

  • When entering or exiting driveways and side streets, please remember that the new protected bike facility is located between the vehicle travel lane and the sidewalk, and use caution before proceeding.
  • On trash and recycling pickup days, barrels should be placed on the edge of the sidewalk, not in the bike facility/lane.
  • During snow storms, take care when shoveling sidewalks so as not to block the bike facility. City crews will have specialized equipment to clear the bike facility during and after snowstorms.

More Information

Please check out Beacon Street Reconstruction project page for project background and FAQs and other important information. 

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the project staff:

  • The City of Somerville’s Constituent Service Center: 311 (617-666-3311),[email protected].
  • City of Somerville Deputy Director of Communications, Jackie Rossetti: 617-625-6600 ext. 2614,[email protected]

Thank you!

 


Updated 11/3/2017

Beginning on Monday, November 6 (weather permitting), Eversource contractors will be on site between Washington St. and the Cambridge line to repave section of the roadway where they recently completed utility work. Because the work will be contained to a small section abutting the sidewalk, there are no planned road closures. However, in order to maintain two-way traffic, parking restrictions will be in place for the beginning of the week. In the event of rain, this work may be delayed by one day. Upon completion of the paving, Eversource will also schedule crews to repaint crosswalks and other traffic markings in that location.

Additionally, on the northern section of Beacon St. (Oxford St. to Washington St.), crews are scheduled to repaint crosswalks and traffic markings overnight on Monday, November 6. This work will not require parking restrictions or road closures. Please note that due to weather factors, the work may be delayed by one or two days, however at this time we do anticipate that the painting will be complete at the beginning of the week.

In the meantime, Newport Construction will continue to work to complete the rest of their work for the season, which will include:

  • Pouring concrete at 278 & 272 Beacon St. (week of Nov 6)
  • Installing brick sidewalk pavers between Morgan St. and Washington St. (week of Nov 6 & Nov 13)
  • Installing curbing and ramps at Greenwood, Stanford, Miller & Sacramento (week of Nov 13)

Updated 10/27/2017

Recent Work and Updates

Between Oxford St. and Washington St., Newport Construction continues to complete “button up” tasks to prepare Beacon St. for a safe winter season. This has and will continue to include pouring concrete along remaining sidewalks, installation of ramps at intersections, pavement patching, and tree grate installation.

Construction Look Ahead

With most of the “major” work completed along the entire stretch of Beacon St., Newport Construction crews will focus on completion of sidewalk work (including pouring concrete and laying brick pavers) between Park St. and Washington St. For the remainder of this week, the work will be focused in the areas of Scott St., Beckwith Cir., and installation of brick pavers between Morgan St. and Washington St.

During the week of October 30, Newport will form and pour driveways at 278 & 272 Beacon St., install curbing and ADA ramps at the intersections of Greenwood, Stanford, Miller, and Sacramento, and continue to install brick pavers between Morgan St. and Washington St.

During the week of November 6, Eversource contractors will return to the portion between Washington St. and the Cambridge line to add a pavement layer and temporary paint markings for the winter season. This work is expected to take 1-2 days, and will require lane closures to accommodate 2-way traffic. If for any reason the work will be delayed, the City has required that Eversource provide 48 hours notice to abutters.

Over the next several weeks, Newport will work to ensure the site is safe, accessible, and clean for the end of the construction season. The last phase of the major reconstruction will begin again in Spring 2018.

Bicycle Information and Detours

For the duration of the 2017 construction season, the protected bike lane (Oxford to Washington) will be closed. While bicyclists are always welcome to use the full travel lane, we strongly recommend that bicyclists use the MassDOT approved detour routes, which are supported by the City. Suggested detour routes can be found at:

As always, bicyclists may opt to use the full travel lane(s), however please take note that lane shifts and narrower travel lanes will be in effect throughout construction season.

 


Updated 10/24/2017

Dear Beacon Street Neighbors,

Thank you for reaching out about the Beacon Street tree removal. I'd like to update you on the City's recent meetings with representatives of MassDOT, as well as their contractor Newport Construction, to address the unauthorized removal of Beacon Street trees by Newport, along with subsequent actions taken. Also, I understand that some of you are frustrated at the pace of this response, but I want to assure you City and MassDOT staff have been actively addressing this issue, gathering information, and awaiting responses ourselves so that we could respond with full information.

As a reminder, Beacon Street is a MassDOT funded and managed project. As a result, as the contract holder, MassDOT demanded a full accounting of the actions that led to the unauthorized tree removal. This request confirmed that blatant violation of protocol resulted in the removal.

MassDOT actions

As a result, the City held two emergency meetings with MassDOT and Newport, and afterward, MassDOT undertook five initial actions regarding Newport:

  • MassDOT took the serious, disciplinary step of issuing an Interim Performance Evaluation that cited the contractor with low field compliance scores. This puts a permanent mark on Newport’s record, which will be taken into consideration when they bid for future MassDOT projects.
  • MassDOT has required Newport to revise their current construction coordination procedures, which have fallen short of acceptable standards.
  • MassDOT has demanded that the project meetings (which City staff also attend) be held weekly going forward rather than every other week.
  • MassDOT has demanded that the 3-week look-ahead, which was previously being updated every two weeks, now be updated weekly.
  • MassDOT is also reviewing and researching their options for other recourse.

We would like to note that MassDOT has been a reliable and important partner for the City overall across numerous projects, and without their willingness to fund and carry out Beacon Street reconstruction, this project would not have been possible. We are deeply disappointed with Newport’s tree removal, but based on the determination of MassDOT to address this effectively, we are confident that the failures in the system that allowed this will be addressed going forward on their end, and we are also taking steps as well to address this. 

City Actions

City staff and our elected officials share your surprise and upset over the actions of Newport. In addition to requesting and supporting the MassDOT actions noted above. After reviewing the outcome of the above steps, the City requested additional review by MassDOT of this matter. MassDOT then issued a second Interim Performance Evaluation further citing Newport’s substandard performance and lowering their score further, making the mark on their record more severe.

The City is also taking this additional action: We are exploring options for recourse and damages that may be available to us. We are reviewing our options to respectfully and efficiently establish increased oversight over State projects and the resources we may need to request in order to do so. And finally, we working with the Board of Aldermen to enhance existing City tree legislation. We will keep you posted on all of these efforts.

Project Plans

That, of course, will not bring back the trees that were prematurely removed. Despite the expected spring removal called for in the project plans, no one in the neighborhood should have to go without the traffic calming, environmental, and recreational benefits of these trees any longer than necessary. The city’s top priority for all tree management and activities is always preservation whenever possible.

Due to the underground and surface work required for the full-depth reconstruction of the roadway, however, tree removals were necessary for all but a few trees, which were designated for preservation based on the details of their locations. Removal of most of the trees between Washington Street and Inman Square was expected in the spring, but only after final site review, community outreach, staff availability to residents, and onsite removal notice postings. Again, we would prefer not to have trees removed for construction, but the digging and root disruption caused by this work necessitated the unavoidable removal of most of the trees on Beacon.

To review the plans, please click on the Plans tab above, which has been updated to include all relevant plans.

Replacement planting: Plans call for ~190 new trees to replace ~75 removed

Whenever City public trees die or are required to be removed, we make every effort to replace them where possible—and expand the number of trees replanted where possible. Beacon Street is no different. All trees will be replanted in the largest survivable/advised size and with appropriate biodiversity once the construction phase and season are appropriate for planting. On Beacon, plans call for an increase in trees with a total of ~190 new trees replacing the ~75 trees removed (along the full length of the project) due to construction.  We too desire, and have been striving for, an appealing, safe, and tree-lined streetscape for Beacon, just as we have been steadily striving to maintain and grow the tree canopy citywide.

Ongoing Updates

Again, thank you for reaching out about this issue. To continue to receive our regular email updates on the Beacon Street project please check back here, or go to somervillema.gov/alerts where you can review updates can sign up for project alerts.

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.

The bike facility type is supported by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide, Federal Highway Adminisrtation (FHWA) Separated Bike Lane Planning & Design Guide, and MassDOT's Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide.

Balancing Multi-Modal Needs

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. 

Bicycle Detours

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.

Please see the detour routes below:

Contact Us

General inquires:
Please call 311 from any phone within the City, or contact 311 by dialing 617-666-3311 from anywhere

Reporting Construction Hazards:
Call 311, which will be routed to all City and MassDOT project staff, including the private contractor.

Meeting Date

Downloads

5/13/2014

Presentation

Notes

3/15/2013 Presentation
1/28/2013 Presentation
11/13/2012 Presentation
10/15/2012

Presentation

Notes

9/18/2012 Presentation
 

Other

Beacon St. Bike & Pedestrian Analysis