State transportation officials have put the controversial Massachusetts Avenue reconstruction project out to bid and are expecting work to begin next year.
The state Department of Transportation has begun advertising the estimated $5.4 million project, and has set Jan. 22 as the deadline for bids on the construction work along a one-mile stretch of Massachusetts Avenue in East Arlington.
Mike Verseckes, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said Monday that once a bidder is selected the work is expected to begin in the spring or summer of 2014 and will likely take two years to complete.
Massachusetts Avenue currently has two lanes in each direction in East Arlington, but the town is seeking to reduce the number of vehicle lanes, primarily on the westbound side of the avenue, in order to install bicycle lanes on each side of the roadway. The project will also include sidewalk and pedestrian crossing improvements.
The project has drawn fierce opposition from some, including the East Arlington Concerned Citizens Committee, which collected enough signatures to have a non-binding question placed on the ballot in April that asked voters if they favored four vehicular lanes on Massachusetts Avenue in East Arlington. By a 51 to 49 percent margin, voters said they preferred four lanes.
But after the non-binding vote, Arlington Selectmen voted in favor of proceeding with the project.