Green Line Extension Project Back on Track?

The MBTA has been talking about extending the green line of the T into the underserved communities of Medford, Mass., and Somerville, Mass. since 1990. In 2012 construction finally began, however in August 2015, the MBTA announced that the green line extension project would go over budget by $1.08 billion. That December, the MBTA ended its contract with the general contractor, project manager and designer.

Now there are plans to take up the project again, in a more scaled back version. While all six new stations are still included in the plan, the station designs are much simpler as is the plan for the relocated Lechmere station.

The community path will be shortened by 3,000 ft., and the vehicle maintenance facility has scaled back on some automation, and significantly reduced the size of the buildings and parking.  Other simplifications include removing viaducts and reducing bridge construction.

The changes to the project are not just reductive; there is a focus on innovative redesign of the previous plan that will preserve some functionality while lowering cost. Cost certainty is also a big factor, as no one wants another $1 billion surprise.  

In order to maximize cost certainty, the MBTA is looking to procure a single design-build contract that will cover the remaining work to be done. They hope that this will shift “commercially reasonable risks” to the contractor, and reduce the level of MBTA- construction management and contract staff that would be necessary to manage several different contracts.

Requests for information responses from any firm interested in being involved in the delivery of the GLX must be submitted to the MBTA no later than December 1, 2016 12:00pm EST.

A new construction timetable and resulting estimate of opening for public use will be determined in part by the winner of the design-build contract bid.