Full-Depth Reconstruction Starting May 2016
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.
Updates & Alerts
Presentations & Notes
Updates & Alerts
Recent Work and Updates
Eversource completed final repairs at the intersection with Smith Ave., and continued its gas main and gas service updates between Cooney St. and the Cambridge line. Eversource also restriped crosswalks that had been damaged or faded as a result of their recent work.
If you have noticed any damage to your private property, or if you have concerns about the appearance of the site or on-site materials, please contact Eversource Construction Supervisor Marissa Blockus (who is usually on site as well):
Between Oxford St. and Washington St., Newport Construction continued to pour concrete for sidewalks as well as lay brick pavers. This work is somewhat dependent upon work to be completed by Eversource Electric crews, so if you have not seen significant construction in your immediate area, please be assured that crews are working on, by comparison, “minor” work that is necessary to bring the project closer to completion.
Cooney Street - Dickinson St.
Eversource contractors will work to move the existing gas main over to a new gas main, which will require lane closures and parking restrictions in 100 foot work zones each day. To mitigate and control dust that may result from this work, Eversource will continue to utilize street sweepers at the end of the work day on each Tuesday and Friday. UPDATE: Eversource anticipates that they will be fully complete with their gas service work by September 15. Following the completion of the gas work, Eversource will pave an interim layer to ensure that the street is level and safe over the winter season. They will also be responsible for painting temporary road markings and crosswalks for the winter.
Park St. to Washington St.
During the week of 9/4, Newport Construction will begin “form and fine grade” work on sidewalks, prior to pouring concrete during the week of 9/11. They will also continue to install brick pavers in this area. There are no anticipated road or lane closures as a result of this work.
Cooney Street - Dickinson St.
Eversource will post temporary No Parking signs in work zones as necessary. Please review posted signage.
Park Street - Washington St.
Newport Construction will post temporary No Parking signs at periods throughout the next week as necessary to complete traffic control signals and to pour concrete. Please review posted signage.
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.
At this time, we do not anticipate any major detours through the spring portion of construction. Lane shifts will be in effect between Washington St. and the Cambridge line in order to allow two-way traffic. As updates or changes arise, you will be notified in advance. Please note that beginning in July (approximate), Newport Construction will begin reconstruction work in this section, which may require the use of detour routes onto heavily residential streets. We anticipate hosting a community meeting or forum in advance to provide updates and answer questions. Please stay tuned for more information as we have a more finalized schedule this spring.
If you have questions, concerns, or a report of a health or safety hazard, please call 311 (for emergencies, always call 911).
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), 311Updates@somervillema.gov.
- City of Somerville Deputy Director of Communications, Jackie Rossetti: 617-625-6600 ext. 2614, JRossetti@somervillema.gov
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.
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:
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.