MassDOT Secretary Richard A. Davey today joined local and regional officials to celebrate the successful completion of a $20 million project to reconstruct three structurally-deficient rail bridges critical to moving the South Coast Rail project forward.
"It is encouraging to see this important rail bridge project completed ahead of schedule,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Thanks to support from the Obama Administration and our Congressional partners, we were able to create jobs while taking an important step forward in advancing passenger rail service to the South Coast.”
The project was the first in the nation to begin construction after receiving federal Recovery Act Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant funds from the Obama Administration. The work began in October 2010 and was completed four months ahead of schedule. The reconstruction of the Deane Street, Sawyer Street and Coggeshall Street rail bridges represents the first completed phase of construction necessary to advance the South Coast Rail project. The projects created approximately 240 construction jobs.
The rebuilt bridges were constructed in 1907. They were badly deteriorated and limited only to light freight loads. Reconstruction of the century-old bridges will immediately enhance freight operations and improve vehicle traffic below while supporting future passenger rail for the region. In addition to the $20 million in competitive stimulus TIGER funds awarded for this project, Massachusetts also received a $32.5 million federal grant to support the design phase of the Boston South Station expansion project, which will support the South Coast Rail Project.
The rail bridges reconstruction project is among several investments in South Coast Rail by the Patrick-Murray Administration. The newly-released capital plan includes $8.3 million this year for continued planning and design of South Coast Rail. The Commonwealth has completed an historic agreement with CSX Transportation to purchase 30 miles of track from Taunton to Fall River and New Bedford necessary for South Coast Rail. MassDOT and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development in November announced $275,000 in grants to 18 South Coast communities for technical assistance to implement the South Coast Rail Corridor Plan. The Corridor Plan identifies areas for protection and development in 31 communities.
South Coast Rail will restore passenger rail service from South Station in Boston to the South Coast cities of Fall River and New Bedford. More information is available on the project website at www.southcoastrail.com.