MBTA to hold meeting on $20m project to rebuild Boston College Station

The MBTA will hold a public meeting this week about an estimated $20 million project to rebuild Boston College Station, the terminus of the Green Line’s B branch. 

The project, which calls for relocating passenger platforms to the center median of Commonwealth Avenue, is in an early design phase.

The T plans to continue to the next design phase this fall,  but the project’s future after that remains unclear because the agency needs to find outside funding — enough to cover nearly all of the plan’s estimated cost – to be able to finish designing and do the construction, spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

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A public meeting to discuss progress is scheduled for 7 p.m.  on Tuesday at the Brighton Marine Health Center at 77 Warren St. in Brighton in conference rooms 1 and 2, on the building’s third floor.

Passengers currently get on and off trolleys in a rail yard north of Commonwealth Avenue’s two westbound lanes, across the street from an entrance to the Boston College campus.

B branch tracks run down the center of Commonwealth Avenue. Trains enter and exit the rail yard near Boston College on tracks that cross the two westbound traffic lanes near the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Lake Street.

The project calls for building platforms within the center median of Commonwealth Avenue on either side of the tracks just east of Lake Street, which T officials said would improve accessibility and decrease how often trolleys need to interrupt traffic to get into and out of the rail yard.

A diamond crossover would be installed east of the platforms to allow for trolleys to switch from outbound to inbound tracks without having to access the rail yard.

Work would also include constructing a canopy above the inbound platform; some track relocation; installing a mini-high and two portable lifts; upgrading power, signal and communications systems; and updating crosswalks and traffic signals. The passenger platforms would comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The number of traffic lanes on roads surrounding the project would not change. But to allow room for the platforms in the median, the plan does require Commonwealth Avenue’s two eastbound lanes to be shifted south slightly near the roadway’s intersection with Lake Street.

The T would continue to use the rail yard, Pesaturo said.

“By separating the boarding and alighting area from the light maintenance/vehicle storage yard area, we believe the reconfigured Boston College Station will minimize traffic conflicts and establish safer, more visible and more customer-friendly Green Line access at the B Branch terminus,” MBTA Acting General Manager Jonathan R. Davis wrote in May in a letter that state Senator William Brownsberger posted to his website.

The project’s planning to date has been funded by a 2011 federal grant of $656,000 appropriated by Congress to fund preliminary design of improvements to Boston College Station, according to Davis’s letter. The grant required a 20 percent match of $164,500 in MBTA funds.

The project reached the “15 percent design” state in August. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. is under contract with the T to provide a “30 percent design” and perform an environmental review next month.

If and when funding sources outside the T are found, officials expect it would take about five months to find a firm to complete the design process and then another nine months to a year before the design is finished, Pesaturo said.

He said the project would then go through a bidding process for the construction contract.

Construction would take about two years to complete.

Pesaturo said that MBTA staff will consider trying to hire one company to both design and build the project, which could expedite the work.

Three years ago, the T spent about $296,000 on another project at Boston College Station to make accessibility improvements to the passenger platforms within the rail yard.