|The construction site in Kenmore Square where work on the MBTA station is 10 months behind schedule. Much of the work won't be done until at least November. (GEORGE RIZER/GLOBE STAFF)|
Kenmore T work now in extra innings
The eternal renovations at the MBTA's Kenmore Station on the Green Line were supposed to be done by the time "Dice-K" throws his first pitch at Fenway next month. But, no, that would be too easy.
"What is the timetable for returning the Kenmore Green Line T station to some semblance of normality?" wrote Susan of Boston in November. "The situation is highly unpleasant and even quite unsafe, but there is no indication of any progress being made or any notices giving an idea of a timetable. Can you find out from the T what is going on?"
The station project is 10 months behind schedule, T officials said last week, and won't be complete until the 2007 Red Sox season is well over, even if they make the playoffs.
In March 2005, when work began, the job was scheduled to be done last January.
T officials say the new stairs to both platforms of the station will be ready by April 10 -- opening day -- but the planned glass canopy for the buses and all the planned greenery surrounding the site won't be done until at least November. Maybe later.
The $31 million project ($22.7 million for construction alone) will overhaul the overworked station. The station has been kept open while construction has continued, and that's one of the reasons behind the 10-month delay, T officials say.
"It's extraordinarily difficult to do this kind of construction while keeping the station open the entire time," said Joe Pesaturo, spokesman for the T, who noted that the authority had problems getting some of the necessary permits from the city.
The positive spin? By opening day, the station's elevated platforms will be 90 percent complete. Can I hear a yahoo? Anyone?
Contractor Barletta Heavy Division is trying to make up for the lost time by working double shifts. The firm is also seeking an extra $2.2 million because of the delays.
If it's any consolation, Dice-K makes more.
But . . .
"In late November I drove to the Cape via Route 3 and discovered that the road narrows to one lane just before the bridge, seemingly to accommodate traffic flowing onto the bridge (right at the bridge entrance) from the Scenic Highway," Gabor wrote.
"I thought this was a temporary route, as the road from Route 3 to the bridge has two lanes. But last weekend, the same merge to one lane continued . . . I cannot believe that after all of the state investment this can be a permanent solution -- rather than routing the Scenic Highway north and allowing it to merge more gradually into Route 3 a few miles before the bridge. Narrowing the traffic to one lane will simply perpetuate the historical backup previously caused by the rotary. What's the story here?"
Other readers are predicting chaos this summer.
"By creating the artificial bottleneck, people will do whatever they can to avoid it, and it will be interesting to see what happens next season as the backups build," wrote Marie of parts unknown.
The worst part is the lane merge is permanent.
Erik Abell, spokesman for the Massachusetts Highway Department, said traffic counts showed that the number of vehicles going southbound on Route 3 is the same as the number of vehicles originating from the Scenic Highway.
"Since the traffic volumes from each approach are equal, the number of lanes should also be equal. Therefore, the design allows traffic to safely line up . . . without weaving or shifting lanes in the final few hundred feet," Abell wrote.
Though it was only 10 years old, the old tram -- which shuttled passengers from the third floor of the parking garage 750-feet above the rail yard to Wellington -- closed in August. It was a great idea at the time but just didn't work in the cold climes of New England, constantly breaking down and sometimes requiring the Fire Department to rescue stranded passengers.
So National Development, which owns the property and is doing some serious construction in the area, pulled the plug.
"It was a great idea that would have worked well in Florida or if it had been built in a tunnel . . . but none of those were the case, and it couldn't be fixed," said Ted Tye, managing partner with Newton-based National Development.
Cecelia of Winchester said it's been a hard slog ever since.
"Commuters who park in the Central Parking garage [have] endured months of walking back and forth to and from the T station OR standing in the cold icy weather waiting for the shuttle bus to arrive (average wait time during rush hour is 12 minutes)," she wrote via e - mail. "The extra commute time has added up daily."
Adding to the misery was the shuttle bus ride to the station that was fairly direct from the garage but was forced to take a circuitous return route .
Well, here is the good news. Last Thursday around 3 p.m., a $3 million skyway -- paid for by the developer -- opened to the public. Enclosed, with glass on both sides, it's about a 2- to 3-minute walk to Wellington from the garage.
Big Dig officials are warning that motorists coming from west and south of the city c ould experience delays and nighttime detours Friday through next Sunday with the closure of the Pike east at Exit 24 (Interstate 93), the ramp from I-93 north to Logan International Airport, and the ramp to the Pike east from Frontage Road/Albany Street.
All will close at 10 p.m. Friday and 12:01 a.m. Sunday "for a few hours," Big Dig officials said.
In addition, the I-90 connector tunnel east will be reduced to one lane for the weekend.
The South Boston on ramp to I-90 and Logan will also be closed from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. March 12. The detour from South Boston will take you down the South Boston Bypass Road to the Frontage Road on ramp to I-90 east, which is a long haul.
Two to three lanes of I-93 north through downtown and Charlestown will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Saturday morning.
I-93 north will be closed at Exit 16 (Southampton Street) 11:30 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday.
Exit 26 (Storrow Drive) will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Wednesday morning and Thursday to Saturday morning.
The underpass from Storrow Drive east and the ramp from Leverett Circle to I-93 north and the Tobin Bridge will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Saturday morning.
The Sumner Tunnel on ramp to I-93 north will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Thursday morning.
The Haymarket onramp to I-93 north will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday to Thursday morning.
Exit 23 (Government Center) off I-93 north will be closed from 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday.
The Essex St. on ramp to I-93 north will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. tomorrow to Saturday morning.
Route 1A north near Logan Airport will be closed from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. tomorrow to Friday.
The Sumner Tunnel on ramp to Storrow Drive will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Wednesday morning and Thursday to Saturday morning.
Sumner Tunnel access to Haymarket will remain open.
The Congress Street on ramp to I-93 south and the Pike west will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday to Saturday morning.
The on ramp from Congress Street to I-93 in South Boston, and Exit 24 (I-93) off the Pike west will be closed from 11:30 p.m. tomorrow to 5 a.m. Tuesday.
I-93 south will be closed at Exit 23 (Purchase Street) 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday to Saturday morning.
Two to three lanes of I-93 south approaching and through downtown will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Wednesday morning.
The Haymarket on ramp to I-93 South and the Callahan Tunnel will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday to Friday morning.
The Storrow Drive on ramp to I-93 south will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Wednesday morning.
Exit 23 (Purchase Street) off I-93 south will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Wednesday morning.
The Essex Street on ramp to I-93 south will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday to Saturday morning.
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