The Conservation Law Foundation celebrated the start of construction on the Green Line Extension project Tuesday, more than five years after a settlement between the environmental advocacy organization and the state mandated the project.
In a written statement, Rafael Mares, the Conservation Law Foundation's staff attorney, praised the start of the project.
"Five years after the settlement that jump-started the Green Line Extension project, and one year after staging a mock groundbreaking at Somerville High School to protest the project's endless delays, we were happy to see such a distinguished gathering and public excitement around the actual groundbreaking for Phase I of this important transit project," Mares said.
"We love a good groundbreaking and expect to attend a few more before this project is completed, but we are looking forward most to the day when we will be able to ride the Green Line Extension to Union Square and Route 16 for the first time."
The projected $1.3 billion extension is expected to be completed by 2020, stretching the Green Line through Somerville to Medford, creating six new stops. It is mandated as part of a settlement between the law foundation and the state over regional health and environmental hazards created by Boston's Big Dig project.
The first phase, $12.9 million in work to rebuild two rail bridges in Somerville and Medford and demolish an MBTA-owned building in Cambridge, begins this month and is expected to be completed sometime in 2014. The first station along the extension is expected to open in 2017.