Due to significant cost overruns, MassDOT in February began a re-evaluation process, which is expected to be completed and submitted to the MBTA’s fiscal and management control board next month.
MassDOT plans to revise the now $3 billion project with reduced capital and overall costs, as well as a new procurement method, department officials said in a blog post. Project elements under reconsideration include reduced station designs, redesign of a vehicle maintenance facility, reconsidering community path options, construction work hour limitation, power signals, and retaining and sound walls.
The original project consisted of two distinct branches: a mainline that would operate within existing right-of-way of the MBTA Lowell Line beginning at a relocated Lechmere Station in Cambridge and traveling north to Medford; and another branch operating within existing right-of-way of the MBTA Fitchburg Line to Union Station in Somerville.
Plans called for seven new stations and a vehicle storage and maintenance facility. Trains would operate every five to six minutes in peak periods once the extension is completed.
Canceling the entire project still remains on the table “until an affordable, feasible alternative has been identified,” MassDOT officials said. However, any decision to cancel must take into account potential legal ramifications and money already spent on the project.