Grounding the McGrath

ra84970

Active Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
312
Reaction score
263
I'm glad to see that the state is doing this project. This will be a great proof of the Mcgrath Boulevard concept.

But, does anyone know why it costs $12 million to put some paint on the street? Unless I'm missing something completely, the article and the website didn't make it seem like the project was doing a lot of construction with some repaving and seemingly minor maintenance repairs. I could see if it was paint and paving such a long stretch of an old arterial like McGrath it could be a couple of million.

I thought the major structural repair work on McGrath was a few years ago. Are they not telling us about some significant repairs or are the highway department getting fleeced?
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,271
Reaction score
1,797
The rail overpass and its approach and side accesses are a complete mess: rusty fences, broken curbs, wavy pavement, bad joints.

the sidewalk is a totally non-ADA “motorist evacuation path” and shows decades of heaving and subsidence on the main stretch, skinny dangerous at the peak, and no curb cuts on the outbound downhill: getting arbitrary pinched back by hydrants and sign posts and crossed by 3 curbed driveways and 2 bell mouths none of which have curb cuts or rumble strips:

https://goo.gl/maps/Te1qNK7EpsLrENbv9
 
Last edited:

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,271
Reaction score
1,797
Inbound sidewalk and the sidewalk on the ground level access streets are all cases for full depth reconstruction...clearly nothing but pothole patches for the 30 years of ADA
 
Last edited:

North Shore

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
162
The rail overpass and its approach and side accesses are a complete mess: rusty fences, broken curbs, wavy pavement, bad joints.

the sidewalk is a totally non-ADA “motorist evacuation path” and shows decades of heaving and subsidence on the main stretch, skinny dangerous at the peak, and no curb cuts on the outbound downhill: getting arbitrary pinched back by hydrants and sign posts and crossed by 3 curbed driveways and 2 bell mouths none of which have curb cuts or rumble strips:

https://goo.gl/maps/Te1qNK7EpsLrENbv9
Not rumble strips. Rather, we refer to them as "detectable warning panels". But yeah, there aren't any today.
 

Randomgear

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2012
Messages
356
Reaction score
38
I'm not a fan of what MassDOT is proposing. This is right out of the MDC/DCR playbook: Monsignor Casey Arborway Overpass getting reduced from 3 to 2 lanes in each direction and having sidewalks added in 1990. 15 or so years later, DCR was spending millions every summer working on fixing decaying support piers, bridge deck and potholes before finally being torn down in 2015, by MassDOT, and replaced with an at-grade roadway. Once again, the Baker administration is kicking the can down the road, just like the MassPike reallignment project in Allston.
 

sm89

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
1,025
Reaction score
188
I'm glad to see that the state is doing this project. This will be a great proof of the Mcgrath Boulevard concept.

But, does anyone know why it costs $12 million to put some paint on the street? Unless I'm missing something completely, the article and the website didn't make it seem like the project was doing a lot of construction with some repaving and seemingly minor maintenance repairs. I could see if it was paint and paving such a long stretch of an old arterial like McGrath it could be a couple of million.

I thought the major structural repair work on McGrath was a few years ago. Are they not telling us about some significant repairs or are the highway department getting fleeced?
The entire roadway is being repaved, full width, for the length of the corridor. With the number of lanes that McGrath has, that is a significant cost.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
5,797
Reaction score
4,563
I'm not a fan of what MassDOT is proposing. This is right out of the MDC/DCR playbook: Monsignor Casey Arborway Overpass getting reduced from 3 to 2 lanes in each direction and having sidewalks added in 1990. 15 or so years later, DCR was spending millions every summer working on fixing decaying support piers, bridge deck and potholes before finally being torn down in 2015, by MassDOT, and replaced with an at-grade roadway. Once again, the Baker administration is kicking the can down the road, just like the MassPike reallignment project in Allston.
It's kicking the can down the road, but it's not necessarily wasting money - major roads probably need repaving again in that timeframe.

I'm also hopeful that in the extra time the MBTA will finish BNRD and line up which bus routes should be running on McGrath (a stretch that currently has no bus routes, btw, which is kind of bonkers), allowing the bus infrastructure to be better aligned to future service.
 

Camberville

New member
Joined
May 20, 2013
Messages
28
Reaction score
88
Over the past few weeks, the McGrath has been reduced to one lane between approximately Washington St. and the Fitchburg Line overpass. Does anyone know if this is part of preparation for grounding? Or is it just repairs?
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
2,927
Reaction score
2,594
Over the past few weeks, the McGrath has been reduced to one lane between approximately Washington St. and the Fitchburg Line overpass. Does anyone know if this is part of preparation for grounding? Or is it just repairs?
MassDOT is really avoiding the demolishing of the McGrath elevated highway. I would have thought that the Federal infrastructure stimulus bill passed a few months ago would have presented an opportunity for MassDOT to fund this project, but instead they just let it slip by. I don't see the grounding of McGrath happening in the foreseeable future. Which is a shame because the Union Square area is revitalized, and the Sullivan Square area is about to be revitalized in the coming years, but between those two hot spots you have this piece of junk elevated highway holding back the transformation of the entire area.
 

Badusername

New member
Joined
Dec 2, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
115
MassDOT is really avoiding the demolishing of the McGrath elevated highway. I would have thought that the Federal infrastructure stimulus bill passed a few months ago would have presented an opportunity for MassDOT to fund this project, but instead they just let it slip by. I don't see the grounding of McGrath happening in the foreseeable future. Which is a shame because the Union Square area is revitalized, and the Sullivan Square area is about to be revitalized in the coming years, but between those two hot spots you have this piece of junk elevated highway holding back the transformation of the entire area.
The resurfacing has been planned for a while, well before the infrastructure bill. I live about 200 feet from the overpass, so you won’t find a bigger advocate for the grounding to just start already. However, it’s been clear for a while the project won’t commence until 2026 or later. They didn’t want to do it until after GLX. The impression shouldn’t be that the current construction is some sort of a setback, it’s much needed. I agree with you though that they should just be grounding it now, that just hasn’t been the timeline for this project.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
2,927
Reaction score
2,594
The resurfacing has been planned for a while, well before the infrastructure bill. I live about 200 feet from the overpass, so you won’t find a bigger advocate for the grounding to just start already. However, it’s been clear for a while the project won’t commence until 2026 or later. They didn’t want to do it until after GLX. The impression shouldn’t be that the current construction is some sort of a setback, it’s much needed. I agree with you though that they should just be grounding it now, that just hasn’t been the timeline for this project.
Funding this project with the recent Federal infrastructure bill would have placed it exactly on schedule with the completion of GLX. But I hope it really does happen in 2026. Money is tight from the Feds and opportunities like the infrastructure bill don't come up very often, but if the political will is there it will happen. The Arborway overpass was pulled down so there is hope for this one as well.
 

SomerJeff

New member
Joined
Sep 30, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
22
I didn't look through that doc, but any chance that's for the actual grounding project as opposed to the resurfacing (which I understand is underway now).
 

Stlin

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
397
Reaction score
642
Grounding. It's budgeted at 102M, and given the likely complexity of the work, I don't actually think 2027 is a bad timeframe. $100 million isn't something that is queued up on short notice - even in 2019 when they announced the end of the project development phase they were noting funding would be available in 2026 or later. Further, given the amount of detail design work that still needs to be done... I'm ok with it.

Screenshot_20220522-074125_Chrome.jpg
 
Last edited:

Ruairi

Active Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2014
Messages
552
Reaction score
612
It always blows my mind that the actual construction phase of these projects takes so long.
4 years??? how can this not be done in 6 months to a year?
Mind you, I look at the work being done on the on ramp to 28 from Washington st and not a thing has happened in 2 weeks, meanwhile the cut through remains closed.
There's a crazy acceptance of this carry on that I really wasn't expecting when I moved to the States.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,675
Reaction score
1,176
It always blows my mind that the actual construction phase of these projects takes so long.
4 years??? how can this not be done in 6 months to a year?
Mind you, I look at the work being done on the on ramp to 28 from Washington st and not a thing has happened in 2 weeks, meanwhile the cut through remains closed.
There's a crazy acceptance of this carry on that I really wasn't expecting when I moved to the States.
Construction can be faster if you accept the disruption of a total closure of the artery and potentially many cross streets.

That level of disruption is generally not tolerated here. So you get very inefficient construction schedules, where much of the time is spent in setting up work areas for a short closure, and tearing down work areas to reopen roadways.
 

Ruairi

Active Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2014
Messages
552
Reaction score
612
Construction can be faster if you accept the disruption of a total closure of the artery and potentially many cross streets.

That level of disruption is generally not tolerated here. So you get very inefficient construction schedules, where much of the time is spent in setting up work areas for a short closure, and tearing down work areas to reopen roadways.
I get that but in this case, there's at grade streets already there. Medford street heading south and the street with the Mercedes Dealership (also Medford?) heading north.
It seems almost straight forward to lower the viaduct while keeping the side streets open. Washington st was fully closed for a year last year and everyone survived.
I live near by and I'd definitely take one year of serious mess over four (likely more) of less mess.
I find looking at closed roads with no construction happening very frustrating. So much so, I'll likely move if this goes ahead.
In a weird way, I'm not sure we need all that traffic at grade and It's probably easier now to cross under the overpass if your on foot or bike than it will be when MassDOT have shoehorned in a ton of filter lanes and then neglect to maintain it.
look at the road that separates east somerville from Fosse park, no thanks!
 

Stlin

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
397
Reaction score
642
It always blows my mind that the actual construction phase of these projects takes so long.
4 years??? how can this not be done in 6 months to a year?
Mind you, I look at the work being done on the on ramp to 28 from Washington st and not a thing has happened in 2 weeks, meanwhile the cut through remains closed.
There's a crazy acceptance of this carry on that I really wasn't expecting when I moved to the States.
At least part of this is an aversion to headcount and a general shortage of construction labour. Middlesex Corp, one of the biggest heavy and civil construction firms in the state, only has about ~500 employees. BLS data nationally suggests about half a million work in all civil and heavy engineering construction, but even on a project as large as GLX, peak construction employment was about 700 people - there's only so much you can do at once if there's not enough people to do it.
 

Top