Citing some tie-ups in the design work, and an agreement to let other projects get moving first, the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) said it would push back the beginning of the massive Rutherford Avenue/Sullivan Square project back to 2022.
Until now, it was planned to start in 2021. However, before the re-start on the planning process two years ago, it was to start in 2019. The project has been in the planning and discussion stages for more than five years.
The announcement first went public in a quick comment by Mayor Martin Walsh at his Coffee Hour earlier this month. Then, in a Transportation Meeting with State Rep. Dan Ryan, BTD Project Manager Bill Conroy went into more detail on the delay.
“Rutherford is on track for 2022,” said Conroy to the packed meeting. “The reason was because all the other projects that are going on, and we decided it wasn’t best to start the project now and instead wait a little longer.”
In a statement to the Patriot Bridge, that was one reason for the delay.
The first reason was due to delays in the 25 percent design milestone – delays caused by not getting access to pertinent structural reports to existing underpasses.
“However, this design work is currently back on schedule and we anticipate that the MassDOT 25 percent public hearing on this project will take place after January 2020,” read the statement. “Following the hearing, we will proceed to the 100 percent PSE (Plans, Specifications and Estimate), which is required to build the project.”
Another reason was exactly what Conroy specified, that there is just too much going on.
“With the significant amount of work by MassDOT and the MBTA ongoing in this general area, it was mutually agreed by state and local officials to delay project construction for two years,” read the statement. “Sound judgement dictated this decision to allow the other infrastructure work to reach substantial completion prior to breaking ground on Rutherford Avenue/Sullivan Square.”
The project is still fully-funded at $152 million, and the funding remains intact and ready for use in 2022.
BTD said the goals of the project and the design remain the same. They will improve pedestrian access/connections at the MBTA station; decrease traffic congestion; protect the neighborhood from cut-through traffic; create open space accessible to the public; provide development opportunities; and provide quality bike connections.
As an aside for the corridor, traffic improvements planned for the Tobin Bridge off-ramp to Rutherford Avenue will include ‘Don’t Block the Box’ markings to be installed this June.