MBTA Construction Projects

cubbe8

New member
Joined
Mar 18, 2022
Messages
23
Reaction score
28
The work for the Type 10s will be, for the most part, very simple. Sandblast the platform surface, pour 6" more of concrete to the final 14" height, adjust ramps and stairs as necessary. Elevators are pretty easy - you just move the door frame and doors, and program it to stop at the new location. Some stations with stairs very near the platform edge might need slightly more aggressive modifications to prevent weird half-steps, but even that is not unreasonable. It's orders of magnitude less work than a full subway station renovation, and even rather simpler than a full accessibility renovation of a surface station, because the only thing changing is the platform height. All of the GLX stations, and likely other recent renovations, have been explicitly designed to permit the platform raising to be as easy as possible.

Full platform modifications for Type 10s cannot be done until it is certain that a Type 7 and Type 8 will never stop at that station again - the folding doors on those vehicles will stick on any platform higher than 8". That can be done branch-by-branch on the surface as soon as all service on that branch is Type 9s and Type 10s, which means late 2020s at the earliest, and cannot be done in the Central Subway until all 7s and 8s are gone. For better or for worse, all renovations till then will be to the lower 8" height. I certainly find myself in the camp of "make everything accessible as soon as possible, even if some work is duplicated, rather than waiting on an uncertain timetable."
Ok I get it and I’m with you for it being fully accessible first
 

The EGE

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
1,271
Reaction score
2,218
Two months of bustitutions on the Newburyport/Rockport line: https://www.mbta.com/news/2022-04-07/newburyportrockport-commuter-rail-line-service-changes
  • April 11-22: Shuttle buses will operate from Rockport to Salem stations. Trains will operate from Salem to North stations. A separate schedule for each timeframe will be available on mbta.com.
  • April 23-May 8: Shuttle buses will operate from Rockport to Gloucester stations. Trains will operate from Gloucester to North stations. A separate schedule for each timeframe will be available on mbta.com.
  • May 9-22: Shuttle buses will operate from Rockport to Orient Heights stations in order for customers to connect to the Blue Line. Chelsea Station customers can use the Silver Line 3.
  • May 23-June 5: Trains will operate from Rockport to Beverly stations. Shuttle buses will operate from Beverly to Orient Heights stations in order for customers to connect to the Blue Line. Chelsea Station customers can use the Silver Line 3. Customers should note that the Gloucester Drawbridge opens on May 23.
  • June 6 and onward: Normal weekday train service.
  • June 11-12: Trains will operate from Rockport to Salem stations. Shuttles will operate from Salem to Orient Heights stations in order for customers to connect to the Blue Line.

  • April 11-May 8: Shuttle buses will operate from Newburyport to Salem stations. Trains will operate from Salem to North stations. A separate schedule for each timeframe will be available on mbta.com.
  • May 9-June 5: Trains will operate from Newburyport to Beverly stations. Shuttle buses will operate from Beverly to Orient Heights stations in order for customers to connect to the Blue Line. Chelsea Station customers can use the Silver Line 3.
  • June 6 and onward: Normal weekday train service.
  • June 11-12: Trains will operate from Newburyport to Salem stations. Shuttle buses will operate from Salem to Orient Heights stations in order for customers to connect to the Blue Line.
 

Stlin

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
397
Reaction score
642
The T released a render for improvements to Lynn station: new canopies, elevators, stairs, platform and structural repairs.
2022-03-08-lynn-commuter-rail-station-rendering.jpg


Out of curiosity, what manner of construction deficiency here lead to the rather notably short life of the existing station & garage? Both the soon to be demolished garage and station were built in 1992, which is only 30 years ago, compared to the multitudes of 1970s and 80s eras stations on the system, or the approximately contemporaneous Blue Line stations. Given 40/50 year design lives, the South shore garages needed work @ ~50 years, as did Alewife, but I wouldn't have expected a station as new as Lynn to need such substantial touches.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,675
Reaction score
1,176
The T released a render for improvements to Lynn station: new canopies, elevators, stairs, platform and structural repairs.
View attachment 23986

Out of curiosity, what manner of construction deficiency here lead to the rather notably short life of the existing station & garage? Both the soon to be demolished garage and station were built in 1992, which is only 30 years ago, compared to the multitudes of 1970s and 80s eras stations on the system, or the approximately contemporaneous Blue Line stations. Given 40/50 year design lives, the South shore garages needed work @ ~50 years, as did Alewife, but I wouldn't have expected a station as new as Lynn to need such substantial touches.
Alewife is not exactly the poster child of quality construction. The garage there started needing major structural repairs less than 2 decades after opening.

The T does not exactly have a track record of hiring quality contractors for their construction projects. Connected contractors are more the norm.
 

bigpicture7

Senior Member
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
2,641
Reaction score
3,613
Alewife is not exactly the poster child of quality construction. The garage there started needing major structural repairs less than 2 decades after opening.

The T does not exactly have a track record of hiring quality contractors for their construction projects. Connected contractors are more the norm.
Failure to design/build for and maintain for corrosion mitigation has been a pervasive recurring theme for the MBTA, the the root of many of the premature re-builds. The T, IMO, needs design review checklists for all major builds and renovations/repairs that include corrosion control, and needs to hold contractors and themselves accountable. When rebar is rusting and causing concrete to disintegrate (case in point at Alewife) and you just patch things up to keep the garage structurally alive, you are setting yourself up for a future disaster. Every time something is "touched," a corrosion checklist should be applied. Another example, when the T recently replaced all of the track on the B branch of the greenline (outbound of Blandford), they quickly cut out all of the (solid/nice and not that old) black-painted middle divider fencing with a sawzall (to improve ease of access for the track work), then ground the paint off the ends of the fence posts and later welded the fencing back in place onto its prior post stumps without treating or painting these new exposed seems. I could be mistaken, but I'm 99% sure this was not galvanized or weathering steel alloy, but bare steel or aluminum that needed to be repainted. A weld joint of a non corrosion resistant alloy is extremely susceptible to corrosive decay. You cannot just leave it there exposed to Boston winters. It needs to be primed and repainted immediately; even if you do it late once the rust has already begun, it will still fail prematurely thereafter. And I get it, the track work contractors probably had nothing to do with fence paint integrity, so there was likely a coverage lapse here - but that's a major point of my comment. Meanwhile, there is rust everywhere in MBTA infrastructure. (also, I am not trying to be a know it all and I hope someone with inside knowledge corrects me about the Green Line fencing situation; but the bigger point is that corrosion control has to be at the absolute forefront of a public transit agency's mind when you're talking about trying to operate reliably in New England weather).
 

RandomWalk

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
1,809
Reaction score
1,516
This also gets into the operations and maintenance budget vs. the capital budget. Routine SOGR maintenance is hemmed in by the funding sources available to the O&M budget and the other draws (e.g. salaries, benefits, etc.). The T has dealt with this by deferring maintenance into the capital budget, which leads to infrastructure decaying to an absurd degree between renewals.

In a better world, the operations and maintenance budget would be two separate budget, with distinct funding sources. Given the apathy towards the T by Western MA pols, it’s probably never going to happen unless the T service area is expanded to the whole Commonwealth. Technically the whole Commonwealth is an “urban area” for purposes of FAIR plan property insurance, so there is some precedent for a state-wide authority.
 
Last edited:

reno

New member
Joined
Apr 1, 2021
Messages
43
Reaction score
59
The T does not exactly have a track record of hiring quality contractors for their construction projects. Connected contractors are more the norm.
Correct me if I'm wrong but the T is required by law to award contracts based on lowest qualified bidder as are most public contracts in the Commonwealth.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
2,927
Reaction score
2,594
Correct me if I'm wrong but the T is required by law to award contracts based on lowest qualified bidder as are most public contracts in the Commonwealth.
Don't know about the state of Massachusetts, but FHWA for its contracts oftentimes allows a competitive "best value" bidding process in which points are given for a bidder's competency and experience in certain specified skills, and then added to points for their bid, to arrive at a the bid's total value. This helps to get skilled contractors while still using price as an important component of the bid.
 

North Shore

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
162
Correct me if I'm wrong but the T is required by law to award contracts based on lowest qualified bidder as are most public contracts in the Commonwealth.
State and Municipal procurement for large contracts required a public bid process where the low bidder will receive the contract. There are a few mechanisms for the awarding authority to award the work to another bidder, but they do not get employed often as they are difficult to prove and/or utilize without getting tied up in potential lawsuits.
 

reno

New member
Joined
Apr 1, 2021
Messages
43
Reaction score
59
State and Municipal procurement for large contracts required a public bid process where the low bidder will receive the contract. There are a few mechanisms for the awarding authority to award the work to another bidder, but they do not get employed often as they are difficult to prove and/or utilize without getting tied up in potential lawsuits.
I did some research on this you are correct but some "design-build" contracts have a point system which are utilized based on multiple factors that I won't list here. Mass DOT has numerous design build contracts like the Route 3 widening Burlington to NH, statewide electronic tolling, Longfellow Bridge, and 93 "Fast 14" contracts. The MBTA also utilizes design build, such as one of their current bridge replacement contracts replacing bridges in Lawrence, Lynn, Melrose, Somerville, and Weston.
 

Stlin

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
397
Reaction score
642
I did some research on this you are correct but some "design-build" contracts have a point system which are utilized based on multiple factors that I won't list here. Mass DOT has numerous design build contracts like the Route 3 widening Burlington to NH, statewide electronic tolling, Longfellow Bridge, and 93 "Fast 14" contracts. The MBTA also utilizes design build, such as one of their current bridge replacement contracts replacing bridges in Lawrence, Lynn, Melrose, Somerville, and Weston.
As far as design-build is concerned, while it is quite common and popular today, it was not even 20 years ago.

Design-Build is still considered an alternative delivery model to the traditional Design-Bid-Build model, where design and construction are separately contracted. Even if the GSA started using it in 1991, it was rare and uncommon federally through the 1990s until FAR reform in 1996. In fact, the final rule allowing for Design-Build in FHWA federally funded highway projects was only promogulated in 2002, and even now it remains an alternative choice to the traditional model.

Similarly, about the same time in 1994 there was a shift to allow for, and indeed ultimately favor, a "best value" approach in contracting, which would accept a higher cost in exchange for quality, (this is why there's more often than not a technical scoring of qualifications and proposals) alongsides the low bidder appoach, which the federal government now refers to as "Lowest Price Technically Acceptable." As of 1999, only 250 contracts were awarded federally under best value terms. These days, it's more common than not for large contracts, but yes it is more susceptible to award challenges due to variability and application of evaluation criteria, as it can be pretty subjective. Most big bid protests contest on evaluation grounds,(See JEDI, workhorse/USPS, etc), but these days a bid protest is all but de rigeur in the mil- contracting space.

Locally, Design-Build was only introduced by the legislature in 2004 and came into force in 2005, and the MBTA actually was considered non-exempt until 2015. (meaning it had to individually apply to use the DB model for a specific project, and only used it twice until 2015.) Also, the legislation inforce until 2005 all but required lowest cost bid awards exclusively- the BV approach was also introduced as part of the 2004 reform package.
 
Last edited:

TrolleybusFoaming

New member
Joined
Mar 4, 2022
Messages
14
Reaction score
37
The harbor tunnel Blue Line shutdown has been extended another week. On May 12th and 13th, Blue Line riders north of Orient Heights will enjoy the experience of a shuttle to there, a train to Airport, and another shuttle downtown.

On a side note, do we really need to shut down a line for 2 weeks to repair a pedestrian footbridge?
 

reno

New member
Joined
Apr 1, 2021
Messages
43
Reaction score
59
The harbor tunnel Blue Line shutdown has been extended another week. On May 12th and 13th, Blue Line riders north of Orient Heights will enjoy the experience of a shuttle to there, a train to Airport, and another shuttle downtown.

On a side note, do we really need to shut down a line for 2 weeks to repair a pedestrian footbridge?
Are you sure its to repair a ped bridge or a tunnel that was built in 1904?
 

stefal

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
1,732
Reaction score
2,536
Are you sure its to repair a ped bridge or a tunnel that was built in 1904?
There are two separate shutdowns: one related to the tunnel, one related to the pedestrian bridge. Both were scheduled for 2 weeks. The tunnel shutdown has been extended by 1 week to 3 weeks.

The harbor tunnel Blue Line shutdown has been extended another week. On May 12th and 13th, Blue Line riders north of Orient Heights will enjoy the experience of a shuttle to there, a train to Airport, and another shuttle downtown.

On a side note, do we really need to shut down a line for 2 weeks to repair a pedestrian footbridge?
Newbury/Rockport Commuter Rail is supposed to be offloading onto Blue Line at Orient Heights and busses starting tomorrow as well. Gonna be messy...
 

The EGE

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
1,271
Reaction score
2,218
Per the press release:

From May 9 to May 13, shuttle buses will operate from Rockport Line stations to Beverly station for continued service to Boston at North Station.

The previously scheduled Blue Line service suspension between May 12 and May 29 from Wonderland to Orient Heights stations to allow for work on the Suffolk Downs pedestrian bridge will be rescheduled to a later time with alternate dates to be provided soon.
 

tysmith95

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
2,753
Reaction score
301
But per the T trip planner today, there is no service on the commuter rail Beverly to Boston. And no Blue Line service from Airport to Bowdoin. All routes into Boston from Lynn are showing 2+ hours service (for a 10 mile trip).
Last minute change they postponed the planned work on the Newburyport Rockport line inside of Beverly.
 

Top