Boston MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board approved a nearly $159 million contract with Skanska DW White JV to build the Fall River Secondary, the first major construction package of South Coast Rail Phase 1. When complete in fall 2023, Phase 1 will connect southeastern Massachusetts and Boston, providing riders with a one-seat trip from Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford to Boston in less than 90 minutes.
Since the groundbreaking in July 2019, South Coast Rail has spent close to $100 million on construction work, real estate acquisitions, vehicle procurement, and related design and contract management/administration. The contract award is another major milestone as the project continues to move forward in earnest.
“The awarding of this contract makes it abundantly clear to everyone that we are going to be running passenger train service in the near future between the South Coast and Boston,” said MassDOT Secretary/CEO Stephanie Pollack. “This contract installs or repairs track infrastructure, train layover space, grade crossings, bridges, parking lots and stations. This contract continues us on a path forward to beginning passenger train service in late 2023.”
The contractor will build 2 new Commuter Rail stations in Freetown and Fall River. The new Freetown Station and Fall River Depot Station will both include accessible high-level side platforms and feature additional amenities that include a drop-off area and bicycle parking. Including designated accessible parking and parking for electric vehicles, Freetown will also feature 107 parking spaces with 220 parking spaces at Fall River Depot. Fall River will also include a bus drop-off area on North Main Street.
The contract package also includes a layover facility for train storage in Fall River at Weaver’s Cove, which features six tracks where trains will be stored before beginning service daily and after ending service. The secure site will also have an 1,800-square-foot crew building and parking areas for employees.
The Fall River Secondary contract also includes work on 12 miles of track, eight railroad bridges, one under-grade bridge, 10 grade crossings, six interlockings, 10 culverts, and additional systems infrastructure. The project includes the installation of new rail, ballast, and sub ballast; raising the track in some locations; and installing ballast vibration mitigation. Retaining walls will be constructed as required. The railroad bridges are in Lakeville, Freetown, and Fall River.
The MBTA has obtained all required permits to begin construction, which is expected to take 30 months and begin this summer.