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Massachusetts Governor Celebrates Opening of the Green Line Extension

CAMBRIDGE, MA — Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler, and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) General Manager Steve Poftak recently joined federal, state, and local elected leaders and community partners to celebrate the opening of the first branch of the Green Line Extension (GLX) Project. A ribbon-cutting event was held at the brand-new Union Square Station as well as the newly constructed and relocated Lechmere Station.

“The Green Line Extension is a transformative project that is the result of collaboration among federal, state, local, and community partners, and our administration is thrilled to celebrate today’s launch. This expansion of the Green Line will improve access to educational and job opportunities throughout the MBTA system and across the region,” Baker said. “This milestone will have a significant impact on this region of the Commonwealth by providing better MBTA service to riders and spurring economic growth, and we are grateful to everyone who worked together to make this day possible.”

“The start of service on the Union Square branch of the Green Line Extension Project is just one example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to providing safe and equitable transportation networks that support the Commonwealth’s transit, economic, climate, and public health goals,” Tesler said. “We are grateful to the partnerships which have helped make this project a success and look forward to unveiling additional infrastructure improvements including commuter rail station renovations and projects bringing the system into modern times with ADA-compliant features.”

The GLX Project extends the Green Line approximately 4.7 miles along two branches — the Union Square Branch and the Medford Branch — from the relocated Lechmere Station in East Cambridge. The Medford Branch of GLX, which is anticipated to open in summer 2022, will run approximately 3.7 miles parallel to the Lowell Commuter Rail Line to College Avenue in Medford. Seven new stations were constructed as part of the project, including the relocated Lechmere Station, along with a new vehicle storage and maintenance facility in Somerville.

When fully complete, GLX will significantly reduce vehicle emissions on the road by supporting anticipated increased ridership and dramatically improve local and regional air quality. About 20 percent of Somerville’s population is within walking distance of rail transit today, and 80 percent will be within walking distance to a station at the completion of the project.

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GLX was procured through a framework that set strict limitations on the project’s total cost while allowing bidders to include additive options ensuring the MBTA could procure a project that maximized the benefits without jeopardizing its budget. In addition to track infrastructure and seven station stops, construction included six additive options: platform canopies, additional elevators at select stations, public art, an extension of the community path with additional connections, and an enhanced vehicle maintenance facility.

The total project cost is nearly $2.3 billion, which includes other project components such as real estate, professional services, contingency, and the procurement of 24 new trolleys to augment the existing Green Line fleet. When fully complete, GLX will have installed 100,000 railroad ties, 21,000 linear feet (nearly four miles) of pilings, 22 million pounds of steel (which includes 16.5 million pounds of steel girders), 17 miles of permanent track, and two miles of multi-use community path.

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