Full-Depth Reconstruction Starting May 2016

City workers plant a new tree on Beacon StreetIn 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.

New Tree Plantings in May and June

In May and June of 2018, roughly 100 new trees were planted on Beacon St. between Oxford St. and Washington St. Plantings south of Washington St. are scheduled for Fall 2018.

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

Thank you for your heartfelt email and for your advocacy around MassDOT’s Beacon Street Reconstruction project in Somerville, specifically around the planned removal of several remaining trees along Beacon Street. Like you, I place high value on our City’s tree canopy and understand how important trees are to overall quality of life. Since October, following the tree removal work by the state’s contractor, my Administration has undertaken numerous efforts to respond to this challenge and improve the Beacon Street project, as well as the City’s policies around urban forestry and landscape management.

Due to quick coordination by City staff, those tree removals were halted and we were able to save six living trees between Washington St. and Dickinson St. Although those trees had been identified for removal and replacement in the state’s construction contract and in the design plans, I directed my staff to evaluate whether field changes to the project design could potentially result in the preservation of one or more trees. 

After significant and careful consideration of each tree, their surroundings, and the impacts on both the community and the project outcome, I am very happy to report that our City staff has recommended that four of the six remaining trees be preserved. MassDOT leadership has endorsed our proposal and is conducting a final technical review before finalizing amended designs. In the meantime, MassDOT has directed their contractor to adjust the construction to preserve a mature pear tree at 85 Beacon, and three smaller pear trees at 47 Beacon (at Whole Foods), 15 Beacon and 11 Beacon. 

At the same time, it is important to understand that trees in urban environments exist under great stress compared to suburban and rural environments. These four trees have been surviving in a sub-optimal environment despite our overall expanded efforts to preserve, maintain, and grow our urban forest and tree canopy, and this reconstruction project will not fundamentally improve their growing conditions. It is possible that one or more of these trees will exhibit signs of failing health in the coming years despite the best efforts of contractors and City staff to protect them from additional harm, and our City staff will monitor them closely to protect public safety. If a hazardous condition is detected, a tree will be removed and replaced just like it would anywhere in the City.

It is also important to understand the challenges of protecting mature trees in large reconstruction projects. Projects of this nature are typically undertaken to upgrade and replace significantly aging underground infrastructure and/or to make safety improvements to road and sidewalk surfaces. To do so, project engineers must navigate a complex system of design criteria and existing utilities including compliance with federal and state accessibility codes, relocation or replacement of buried utilities in streets and sidewalks, allowing for proper draining structure to prevent significant flooding, and ensuring that the final design adheres to traffic safety standards. In many cases, tree preservation is extremely complex, may result in short- or long-term damage to the tree structure, and could present future risks to public safety. 

Each project is unique and is reviewed independently to determine which, if any, trees must be recommended for removal. The best and most important time to make these decisions is during the design phase prior to the start of construction so that the project team can appropriately balance the equal needs of accessibility, safety, parking, quality of life, cost, and other factors. We understand that feedback is important and circumstances may change and we try to account for that as any project progresses. In the case of Beacon Street, we have been able to find very specific ways to retain more trees than previously accounted for. This is not something we will be able to replicate across every project. We can and will strive to involve as many community members as possible from the early stages of any project so that we can appropriately incorporate feedback on all aspects of the project.
The Beacon Street Reconstruction project is even more complex as a multi-jurisdictional reconstruction project with a combination of funds from city, state, and federal sources, and a contract ultimately controlled by MassDOT. We must and will draw lessons from this project to guide future discussions, meetings, and procedures. As part of our ongoing overall strategy we are building a bigger team of trained professionals and developing a progressive urban forestry program, and in late 2016 we hired the City’s first-ever certified arborist.

Beyond tree preservation we have also been hard at work studying additional design elements to create more green and more visually appealing landscape on Beacon Street. For example, at the project’s northern end, staff have identified an opportunity to tweak the design of the traffic-calming bump-out at the corner of Beacon and Oxford Streets to add an additional shade tree, public seating and a planting bed, and we are proposing modifications some areas between Oxford St. and Museum St. to add longevity to plantings in this urban setting.

As the project moves ahead the first 100 new trees will be planted on Beacon Street between Oxford and Washington in June. Another 90 trees are scheduled to be planted between Washington and Inman Square this fall. When our new trees arrive, our staff will be on-site to ensure that proper soils and proper planting techniques are used by the state’s contractors to improve survival of these crucial public assets.  

Living through a very active and large scale reconstruction is no easy task and I thank you for sticking with us toward a better Beacon Street. Your advocacy is important toward that goal, and I thank you for making sure your voice and your opinion have been heard.

Sincerely,

Joseph A. Curtatone
Mayor

 

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Updated 9/6/2018

Ongoing Utility Work

Utility companies, primarily Verizon and Comcast, will continue to relocate and transfer utilities through September. This work will be isolated at certain poles and will require minor excavation at those locations. No traffic impacts are anticipated. As work is completed at these poles, Eversource will remove the old poles.

Eversource Gas Work

Eversource crews have adjusted 20 of their 32 valve boxes. Next week, they anticipate completing the final 12. This will require no traffic or parking impacts. Work will be completed until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Sidewalk Reconstruction

Beginning on Monday, September 10, Newport Construction will reconstruct portions of sidewalk at the corners of the intersection of Beacon St. and Washington St. In order, excavation will occur at the corner adjacent to the Wine & Cheese Cask, followed by the corner adjacent to the Biscuit, and the corner adjacent to Bergamot. Work at the corner adjacent to Dali may be delayed by necessary utility work. On Tuesday, crews will install new curbing, and for the duration of the week they will work on installation of underground conduit and materials. Weather permitting, cement will be poured at the beginning of the following week. While sidewalk panels are excavated, temporary pedestrian accommodations will be made. 

Schedule Update

MassDOT has released an updated timeline for the remaining work on the entire length of Beacon St. This includes a new schedule for sidewalk reconstruction between Washington St. and the Cambridge line, expected completion of all utility work, completion of the protected bike lane and elevated bike lane, landscaping, final paving, and other items. A list is included below with expected timeline for completion.

  • Utility Relocation – Eversource: September 2018
  • Utility Relocation – Comcast: September 2018
  • Utility Relocation – Verizon: September 2018
  • Repair Trenches in Roadway: September 2018
  • Fire Alarm System: May - June 2019
  • Construct Sidewalks, Beacon at Washington St: September - October 2018
  • Construct Sidewalks, Beacon at Cooney/Buckingham: September - October 2018
  • Install Mast Arm Foundations: September - October 2018
  • Construct Sidewalks, Washington to Hampshire: October 2018 - May 2019
  • Install Concrete Paver Accent Strip along Sidewalks: November 2018, April – May 2019
  • 6’ Cycle Track – Oxford to Washington: April – May 2019
  • Install Furniture on Sidewalks: November 2019, April – May 2019
  • Install Trees: May – June 2019
  • Install Signage: May 2019
  • Install Traffic Signals: December 2018 – May 2019
  • Adjust Structures in Road for Final Paving: May – June 2019
  • Milling & Paving: June 2019
  • Install Granite Curb & Concrete Paver Sidewalks: June 2019
  • Stripe Thermoplastic Crosswalks: June 2019
  • Install High Friction Surface on Cycle Track: June 2019
  • Paint Pavement Markings: June – July 2019

Notes for End of Season Preparation

While final work will not be completed until 2019 as of the current schedule, there will be accommodations made to ensure safe travel for vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians over the winter months. That plan is still in development and we will continue to update you as we have those plans available.

If you have any questions about any of the work above, please contact [email protected].


Updated 8/24/2018

Upcoming Work Highlights

Beginning on Monday, August 27, and continuing for approximately 2 weeks, Eversource Gas and their contractors will be on site along the entire length of Beacon Street conducting gas patch repairs and temporary paving, and adjustments to valve boxes.

Electric utility work will continue, mostly between Washington St. and the Cambridge line.

On Thursday or Friday of next week, Northern Tree Service will remove the final three trees that were pre-scheduled for removal between Washington St. and the Cambridge line. *These are trees that are in poor health or dead. These are not the four trees that were reprioritized to be saved earlier this spring.

Eversource Gas Work (Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.)

Eversource will be repairing patch work, mostly between Oxford St. and Washington St., at sites where they had previously repaired gas leaks. The patching was found by project staff to be insufficient, and is requiring that Eversource make the repairs before the roadway is repaved in its final condition. For this work, crews will be excavating in small sections, and they do not anticipate any lane shifts or parking restrictions. Weather permitting, the work will take two weeks to complete.

Additionally, Eversource gas crews will be on site along the entire length of Beacon St. throughout the week of August 27 to adjust 32 underground valve boxes. Again, excavation is expected to be minimal with no traffic or parking impacts. This work will take approximately one week to complete, weather permitting.

Tree Removals & Information

On Thursday, August 30, or Friday, August 31, Northern Tree Service will remove the final 3 trees that are scheduled for removal. These trees are not the four trees that were identified following a public hearing earlier this year to be preserved. The trees scheduled for removal next week have been deemed by an arborist to be in poor health, and must be removed. The locations of the trees to be removed are: 108 Concord Ave (tree located on Beacon St.), 45/47 Beacon St., and 111 Beacon St.

As a reminder, following a public hearing held on April 23, 2018, an additional four trees were marked for preservation this year. In order to retain these four trees, MassDOT has reviewed and revised plans for the streetscape in each of those areas, and determined that adjustments must be made to the curb line which will result in the net loss of up to an additional 6 parking spaces. Following the removal of the three trees during the week of August 27, no additional removals are planned at this time.

Ongoing Utility Work

Work by Comcast,  RCN, and Verizon to transfer services from existing utility poles is ongoing. On Tuesday, August 28, there will be work on Pole #1, located at 6 Beacon St., which will require excavation of the sidewalk panel at that location. This will be conducted during normal work hours (7 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

Please note that in the coming weeks as each company completes their transfers, it may be necessary for crews to request access to parts of the services within your property. If they are able to schedule this access as soon as possible, this will greatly assist in the overall project timeline. If you are unsure of this work, please always contact 311 with any questions.

If you have any questions about any of the work above, please contact [email protected].


Updated 8/17/2018

Though the final phase of construction (sidewalk reconstruction and tree planting between Washington St. and the Cambridge line, and final paving of the entire street) is still on hold while utility companies complete necessary gas repairs and electric and communications transfers from existing poles, there are some updates to report with regard to the utility work.

Beginning on Monday, August 20, crews from RCN and Comcast will be relocating underground conduit at several existing utility poles, primarily between Washington St. and the Cambridge line. Please note that the following dates are subject to change due to weather or other required underground work. This phase of utility work is not anticipated to take longer than two weeks to complete; however, if the schedule changes we will notify you in advance.

  • Beginning Monday, August 20: Pole #14, located between Kirkland St. and Dimick St.
  • Beginning Wednesday, August 22: Pole #28, located between Kent St. and Ivaloo St.
  • Beginning Friday, August 24: Pole #18, located at the corner of Washington St. and Beacon St.

For this work, crews will need to excavate a portion of the existing sidewalk (note that these are NOT recently-reconstructed sidewalks), and there will be temporary No Parking zones in the immediate vicinity of the pole on each work day. Unless in case of unforeseen delays after excavation, work at each pole is expected to take 1-2 days to complete. Work will be conducted between the hours of 7 a.m. and approximately 3 p.m. Newport Construction will also be on site to conduct the required excavation.

 

If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].


Updated 6/27/2018

Weather permitting, on Saturday, June 30, Newport Construction will be paving an interim layer of asphalt within the intersection of Beacon St. and Washington St., between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. While traffic will be maintained on Beacon St. at all times, Washington St. will be closed during work hours. The work is being performed during the day on Saturday to prevent the need for three consecutive nights of overnight paving work. Though the work will not take long to complete, the pavement will need to cool and set before vehicles can drive on the surface, so work hours may extend to 4:30, though there is a potential for the road to reopen sooner.

During work hours, vehicle and bicycle traffic on Washington St. will be detoured as follows:

  • Southbound (from Union Sq. toward Cambridge): Right on Dane St., left on Somerville Ave., left on Park St. to Beacon St.
  • Northbound on Kirkland St. (from Cambridge): Left on Holden St. (in Cambridge), right on Scott St. to Beacon St.

If possible, please seek alternate routes on Saturday.

If you have any questions or concerns, email [email protected], or call 311 (617-666-3311). Thank you.

*Please note that typical construction hours on Saturday begin at 9 a.m.,; however, the contractor has been granted special permission by the DPW Commissioner to begin the work at 7:30 a.m. in order to complete it as soon as possible before temperatures begin to rise.


Updated 6/14/2018

Updates and Important Information

Beginning on Monday, June 18, Newport will move into the intersection of Washington St. and Beacon St. for the final portion of excavation on the project.* This work will consist of adjustments to castings, manholes, and other such structures, and there will be no traffic impacts until June 21, when excavation will begin in the intersection. 

Beginning on June 21 and lasting for approximately 2-3 weeks, Newport will conduct full depth excavation within the intersection, in small sections. By doing so, they expect to be able to maintain two-way traffic at all times, with some traffic pattern changes as follows:**

  • Between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., two-way traffic will be maintained on both Beacon St. and Washington St.
    • Lane shifts will be in place on Beacon St. from 7 a.m. to approximately 3:30 p.m. to accommodate two-way traffic.
  • Between 9 a.m. and approximately 3:30 p.m., there will be alternating traffic on Washington St., with the assistance of police details. Two-way traffic will be maintained; however, there may be brief delays due to the alternating traffic pattern.

Barring any unforeseen delays, Newport hopes to have the intersection paved (with an interim layer, not the final paving) before July 4; however, please stay tuned for updates during this phase of construction.

*Though June 18 is a City holiday, Newport has been granted permission by the DPW Commissioner to work on the holiday in order to keep the work on schedule and work with minimal traffic.

**This plan is subject to change following review by Traffic Engineers and/or by on-site police details if and when safety is considered an issue.

Additional Planned Work

During the week of June 18, you can also expect to see the following activity:

Between Oxford and Washington Streets: Newport’s subcontractor will continue installation of new trees (100 in total when complete). To accommodate this work, there will be parking restrictions at various locations. Please review posted signage. We anticipate that tree plantings in this area will be complete by Tuesday, June 19.

As a reminder, the suggested detour for all bicycle traffic remains in place:

Questions?

Please check out the other tabs on this page for project background and FAQs and other important information.

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

City of Somerville Construction Staff: [email protected]

The City of Somerville’s Constituent Service Center: 311 (617-666-3311), [email protected].

 

Updated 6/6/2018

Due to heavy rains earlier this week, contractors on Beacon St. were unable to complete paving work between Concord Ave. and Dickinson St. as previously scheduled. To remain on schedule and to ensure the road is paved as quickly as possible, contractors will be working longer than normal hours on Thursday. Crews will be off of Beacon St. by 8 p.m.

During paving, two-way traffic will be maintained at all times; however, because travel lanes may be narrower, please allow some extra travel time when in this area.

 

 If you have any questions or concerns, please call 311 (617-666-3311) or email[email protected].


Updated 6/1/2018

Updates and Important Information

Beginning the week of June 18, Newport will move into the intersection of Washington St. and Beacon St. for the final portion of excavation on the project.* A Traffic Management Plan is still being devised and will be shared as soon as it has been approved. At this time, crews do not anticipate full closure of the intersection during the work, which is scheduled to take approximately 2-3 weeks to complete. Traffic patterns may involve lane shifts and/or alternating traffic during work hours (7 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m.)** Please stay tuned for updates over the next several weeks. While work in the intersection will begin during the week of June 18, no traffic pattern changes will occur until June 22, the day after Somerville schools close for summer recess.

*No further excavation is anticipated at this time; however, should any unexpected utility work be necessary it will need to be completed prior to the final paving of Beacon St. There is a five-year moratorium in Somerville on digging up streets (except for emergencies) following completion of a paving project.

**This plan is subject to change following review by Traffic Engineers and/or by on-site police details if and when safety is considered an issue.

Upcoming Schedule 

During the week of June 4, you can expect to see the following activity:

  • Between Concord Ave. and Dickinson St.: On Wednesday, June 6 and Thursday, June 7, Newport will pave the binder coat, completing the major excavation work at this location. Parking restrictions will be in place through the work zone at all times (24/7) on weekdays. Parking may be available between Friday evening and Monday morning, but please review all posted signage when parking.
  • Between Oxford and Washington Streets: Newport’s subcontractor will perform the installation of new trees (100 in total, when complete). To accommodate this work, there will be parking restrictions at various locations. Please review posted signage.
  • The suggested detour for all bicycle traffic remains in place:

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. 

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 to day.d


Updated 5/8/2018

Please be advised that due to delays with a shipment of asphalt today that was beyond the control of contractors, Newport Construction crews will remain on Beacon St., between Washington St. and Buckingham St., beyond normal working hours this evening. While two-way traffic will be maintained at all times via an alternating traffic pattern, please be advised that traffic may be heavier than normal during the evening commute in this area.

Additionally, on Wednesday, May 8, Newport will be working in the area between Oxford St. and Sacramento St. to install permanent pavement patches around previously installed drainage systems. Again, traffic will be maintained and access will be allowed for abutters at all times. However, there may be brief periods of time where crews may need to work with you to gain access to or from your driveway, or onto an abutting side street. These delays are expected to be very brief in nature throughout the day on Wednesday.

If you have any questions, please contact Jackie Rossetti at [email protected], or call 311.

Thank you!

 

Updated 4/29/2018

Upcoming Construction Schedule

On Saturday, April 28, Newport will have a very small crew on Beacon St. to address any issues that may arise as a result of predicted heavy rainfall overnight on Friday. There should not be significant noise or other issues as a result of the work; however, if you do notice crews on site please be aware that the only work that will be conducted is as a direct result of rainfall and mitigation of any issues.

During the week of April 30, you can expect to see the following activity between Washington St. and Buckingham St., as well as between Roseland St. and Oxford St.:

  • Newport will continue excavation and related repairs between Washington St. and Buckingham Street.
  • By the end of the week, weather permitting, Newport plans to pave a base and binder layer of pavement between Washington St. and Buckingham St.
  • Between Roseland St. and Oxford St., Newport will install curbing, conduit, and tree grates as well as complete sidewalk and driveway work. There may be some brief lane shifts and temporary no parking associated with this work. When concrete is being poured along sections of sidewalk, pedestrian traffic will temporary be detoured. Please obey all posted signage.
  • The suggested detour for all bicycle traffic remains in place:

During the week of May 7, you can expect to see the following activity between Buckingham St. and Dickinson St., as well as between Roseland St. and Oxford St.:

  • Newport will begin full depth excavation and related repairs between Buckingham St. and Dickinson St.
  • Between Roseland St. and Oxford St., Newport will continue to install curbing, conduit, and tree grates as well as complete sidewalk and driveway work. There may be some brief lane shifts and temporary no parking associated with this work. When concrete is being poured along sections of sidewalk, pedestrian traffic will temporarily be detoured. Please obey all posted signage.
  • The suggested detour for all bicycle traffic remains in place:

During the week of May 14, you can expect to see the following activity between Washington St. and Buckingham St., as well as between Forest St. and Washington St.:

  • Newport will continue full depth excavation and related repairs between Buckingham St. and Dickinson St.
  • Between Forest St. and Washington St., Newport will install curb bump-outs. There may be some brief lane shifts and temporary no parking associated with this work. When concrete is being poured along sections of sidewalk, pedestrian traffic will temporarily be detoured. Please obey all posted signage.
  • The suggested detour for all bicycle traffic remains in place:

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 Dickinson St., on both sides of Beacon St., as follows:

  • Eastbound: No parking 24/7, from Monday morning through Friday evening. Parking will be available from Friday night through Sunday. (Please review signage before parking.)
  • Westbound: Due to a shallow gas main, parking restrictions will remain in place at all times. Please review posted signage.

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 to day.

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 4/13/2018

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