Major Shore Stabilization Project to Help Flooding, Include Bike Path

April 13, 2018
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A $31.7 million shore stabilization project is about ready to get going full speed in the coming months on Alford Street at the Charlestown Bus Yard, where a new coastal resiliency project will help stabilize the shoreline and hold tight during coastal flooding storms.

Andrew Brennan, senior director of Energy and the Environment for the MBTA, told the Patriot-Bridge that the federal project came about due to the fact that the shoreline along the Mystic River was caving in and eroding away.

“The project for the T is a resiliency project,” he said. “The Mystic River is a tidal basin and the seawall is in danger due to tidal action. It’s a critical facility as about half of our bus passengers in the system ride a bus that originates out of the Charlestown yard…Were the seawall to continue to degrade, it would jeopardize the structural integrity of the building.”

The project is now getting underway with Middlesex Corporation on the job and beginning to build a work area – pumping water out of the temporary space.

“They’re pumping the area now so they can work in an entirely dry area,” he said. “That’s what they’re doing now. I would say you’ll see an acceleration of work there in mid-June. You’ll see more and more construction this summer.”

A key part of rebuilding the seawall is also to protect Charlestown from flooding in one of its least traveled areas, but also one of its most vulnerable to devastating flood events. A report by the City of Boston identified ‘The Neck’ area of Charlestown – which includes the busyard – as key points that could fail in a catastrophic storm and send flood waters into the Main Street, Medford Street and Rutherford Avenue corridors.

“As we have more and more storms and larger storm surges and higher tides, the new seawall will withstand larger and stronger tidal influences,” he said. “Like any seawall, it has eroded and broken away. The new wall will hold up to bigger storms, bigger tides and larger storm surges, protecting the yard and everything near it.”

Another key amenity of the project is the fact that the MBTA has worked with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to include a nice bike/pedestrian path on top of the seawall once it’s finished. He said after they complete their project, the DCR will come in and build the path on top of it. That piece of bike/pedestrian pathway is only about 500 yards, but it would be a key piece to connect Charlestown to the proposed Mystic River bridge running from the Wynn casino in Everett to the Somerville T Station. The MBTA seawall path would allow those coming over the proposed bridge to access Sullivan Square and downtown Boston seamlessly.

Brennan said the project is almost entirely funded by the federal government’s Transportation Administration.