Opening revenue service at the GLX project’s Medford Branch is the final line of two developed along the 4.7-mile light rail. The opening follows the completion of the project’s Union Square line in Somerville, which began revenue service in March 2022 to further provide an enhanced travel experience for passengers and allow a more reliable, sustainable, and urban redeveloped public transit service in the Boston area.
To successfully open branch two, the joint venture team constructed five stations on the existing Lowell Commuter Rail corridor, extending from Lechmere Station in Cambridge to College Avenue at Tuft University. In addition, project teammates worked to advance final-phase construction elements along the light rail including the overhead wire system and the East Cambridge Viaduct. These activities included:
- Adjustments to the overhead wire on the East Cambridge Viaduct that will eliminate a temporary 10 mph speed restriction, allowing trolleys to operate at the system’s designed speed of 25 mph on a permanent basis. The higher speed is necessary to maintain proper schedule intervals as five new Medford Branch stations are added to the system.
- The final testing and integration of track switches, power lines, signal equipment, and digital communications between the Green Line’s currently operating Union Branch, the newly operational Medford Branch, and the MBTA’s Operations Control Center.
- Completion of a nearly two-mile extension of the Community Path which provides access to other pathways leading into Boston.
- The installation of the last remaining sound wall panels along the Union Branch and non-critical work items along the Medford Branch.
- Additional last work and various outstanding construction items along the Union and Medford Branches’ tracks, stations, and rights of way.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our Balfour Beatty team and partners for officially completing the final line of MBTA’s Green Line Extension project,” said Mark Konchar, Balfour Beatty Senior Vice President and Managing Director of U.S. Rail Operations. “Opening the Medford Branch is a monumental milestone in the project’s delivery along with many others that our teams worked hard to accomplish to enhance the traveling experience for thousands of passengers. In partnership with the MBTA, our industry partners, and community stakeholders, Balfour Beatty looks forward to finishing final stages to prepare for project closeout.”
With revenue service commencing along GLX’s new branches, the MBTA can significantly reduce automobile congestion and related air emission in Boston and provide communities with universal access and new stations that meet or exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act standards. It is also expected to support increased ridership of more than 50,000 passenger trips per day and reduce regional daily Vehicle Miles Traveled by 25,728 miles.