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Governor Deval Patrick today announced four historic transportation infrastructure investments that will stimulate economic growth and opportunity for commuters, residents and businesses throughout greater Boston, enhance accessibility and ease traffic and congestion.

  • MBTA will launch a $1.3 billion program to replace and increase the capacity of Red Line and Orange Line trains
  • Massachusetts Turnpike will be fitted with all electronic, open road tolling
  • Design will begin immediately to rebuild and straighten the route of I-90/Turnpike in Allston
  • Clayton Street Bridge in Dorchester will be replaced over Veterans Day weekend.

MBTA orange line train copy2The projects announced will bring reliable, long-term relief to commuters who travel the Massachusetts Turnpike and rely on the Red and Orange lines to get to work and school. Governor Patrick made the announcement at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce government affairs forum where he addressed generational responsibility and the importance of expanding economic opportunity for people throughout Massachusetts by investing in education, innovation and infrastructure.

“Growth requires investment, and these projects will catalyze growth in greater Boston,” said Governor Patrick. “If we want to expand opportunity in our Commonwealth, this is what government must do and do well.”

The MBTA today issued Requests for Proposals for the $1.3 billion procurement to replace the 44-year old Red Line cars and 32-year old Orange Line cars. The project will deliver at least 226 vehicles; 152 Orange Line cars, replacing the entire fleet of 120, and 74 Red Line cars with an option to increase the fleet to 132. The new cars will provide improved reliability, accessibility and energy efficiency. New car features include increased capacity and additional seating, wider and electrically operated doors, four accessible areas per car, LED lighting, modern HVAC systems and advanced passenger information and announcement systems. The MBTA expects to award a contract for the cars by winter 2014-15, with the condition that the final assembly of the cars will take place in Massachusetts, providing further investment in the Commonwealth. Following required extensive pilot train testing, Orange Line car delivery is scheduled to begin in winter 2018-19 and Red Line car delivery in fall 2019.

Construction will begin in 2014 to install all electronic, open road tolling to significantly ease congestion and traffic on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Electronic tolling will begin with testing on the Tobin Bridge in January and will go live in the spring.

The I-90 Turnpike straightening project will replace a nearly half mile long structurally-deficient viaduct including 29 bridge structures built in the mid-1960’s. The viaduct project will straighten existing turns on both sides of the existing Allston-Brighton toll area, reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions while opening up to 60 acres for future development in the Beacon Park Yards area. MassDOT’s Highway Division will coordinate this multi-phase project with federal, state and city representatives and conduct public outreach with business, educational and other area institutions in the area. The current schedule calls for construction to begin in fall 2016 with completion in 2020. The preliminary estimated cost of the project is $260 million.

The Governor also announced that the Clayton Street Bridge in Dorchester will be replaced over Veterans Day weekend as part of the Patrick Administration’s push to use accelerated construction techniques to deliver projects. The bridge carries the Ashmont-Alewife Red Line over Clayton Street at the intersection of Clayton Street and Dickens Street and was first constructed in 1911.

“The Governor has a proven track record over seven years of making strategic decisions about targeting investment where it has the greatest positive impact on our transportation customers, and the Turnpike improvements and new T cars are historic additions to that record,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.

“The nearly 50-year old Turnpike viaduct in Allston carries more than 100,000 vehicles daily and no longer meets today’s needs,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola. “This project will allow us to straighten the roadway, replace and reduce the length of the viaduct, and to better support and maintain the future all electronic tolling format at the interchange.”

“Our customers on the Orange and Red Lines have been waiting literally for years to see these long-discussed investments become a reality,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott. “New cars will provide reliable service while increasing seating capacity and accessibility for all riders.”

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