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South Coast RailThe MassDOT Board of Directors today awarded a $210 million contract for the South Coast Rail Project, officially moving the much-anticipated project from planning into construction.

“South Coast Rail will be a game changer for the region, providing a reliable public transit option for residents and businesses of the South Coast,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “This historic project will help create new economic opportunity in communities along the rail corridor, opening up the area for the kind of growth we are seeing elsewhere throughout the Commonwealth.”

The 10-year contract for Program and Construction Management with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB)/HNTB Corporation awards $12 million in first year funding to begin program management, early design development, and environmental permitting, with additional awards in succeeding years up to the contract limit of $210 million.

“We have already taken numerous steps to advance South Coast Rail, and this management contract moves us decisively from planning to design and construction,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “Public transit isn’t just about moving people from Point A to B. It’s about giving people access to employment opportunities, recreation and an improved quality of life. The South Coast Rail will help open those doors for the communities in that region.”

South Coast Rail will provide commuter service from New Bedford and Fall River to Boston South Station using the Northeast Corridor, Stoughton Commuter Rail Line, New Bedford Main Line and Fall River Secondary Line. The proposed service would be an electrified commuter rail system extending from Canton Junction to New Bedford and Fall River. The New Bedford to Boston route is 55 miles with a travel time of 77 minutes. The Fall River to Boston route is 52.7 miles and travel time of 75 minutes.

The project with a current estimated total budget of $2.3 billion will reconstruct 44 rail crossings and 34 bridges, in addition to four bridges and five crossings already in design as part of separate projects. New stations will be constructed in Stoughton, North Easton, Raynham Park, Taunton, Taunton Depot, Freetown, and Fall River. Current stations receiving new platforms include Canton Center, Easton Village, Kings Highway, Battleship Cove and Whale’s Tooth in New Bedford. All stations will be fully accessible.

The $12 million first year contract work will include program management, data collection including environmental site assessments, partial preliminary design, continuing of the environmental permitting process, and public outreach.

Wednesday’s South Coast Rail Program Management contract approval builds on numerous prior investments supporting the project, including:

• Installation of approximately 42,000 rail ties and spikes beginning in 2013 along 33 miles of right-of-way leading to Fall River and New Bedford.
• The Commonwealth’s purchase of 30 miles of track, Taunton to Fall River and New Bedford, from CSX Transportation.
• Rebuilding of three New Bedford rail bridges funded by a $20 million federal TIGER grant.
• South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan strategic investments assisting 31 Corridor communities in preparing for passenger rail through sustainable development and appropriate land use.

Visit the South Coast Rail website to learn more about the project: http://www.southcoastrail.com/

 

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