The state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has approved the contract for construction on the Chelsea Viaduct project, with the low bidder being Skanska McCourt at $169.37 million, some 3 percent below estimates for the massive rebuilding project.
A key part of the scope of work identified in the documents includes keeping the Arlington Street on-ramp, an entryway that had been considered for possible removal.
The project was bid out in July, and a Notice to Proceed is expected in January, with substructure repairs starting shortly after that and into the spring of 2020.
The Chelsea Viaduct is the elevated highway that runs from the County Road overpass to just beyond the 4th Street off ramp. The project has been in the planning stages for more than a month.
The scope of the project includes repairing and retrofitting the superstructure underneath the viaduct. That will take the rusted steel beams and retrofit them with new concrete structures that will be decorated with murals.
That work is expected to begin in the early months of 2019 and will proceed through the spring of 2020 – lasting more than a year.
That will be followed by replacement of the superstructure, which is the decking that the cars and road operate upon. That will be replaced primarily through a pre-fabricated bridge pieces that will be lifted into place and secured. Only two small pieces of the Viaduct will require traditional repair techniques. That will be over the railroad tracks and by the 4th Street off ramp.
There will be no traffic impacts on Route 1 during peak travel times. All work will be performed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on the substructure rehabilitation.
In the fall of 2020, the superstructure replacement will feature some traffic impacts, as they move three lanes into two lanes southbound and two lanes northbound. There will also be interim ramp closures at that time and some parking impacts as well.
As a part of the mitigation for the community, a new community parking lot will be constructed below the Viaduct to help with downtown parking. There will also be improved lighting and a solid snow fence built around portions of the Viaduct.
Completion is expected in 2021.
MassDOT officials said they are in the process of assembling a Chelsea Task Force that will analyze public transit, vehicular travel and other travel options throughout construction and work to ensure reliable transportation for all. More is expected on that Task Force in the coming months.
A before and after view of the substructure repairs to the Chelsea Viaduct, going from rusted steel to a mural.
2 – (Timeline, no cut)