green line

An Inside Look at the Green Line Extension Project

The project is just months away from opening its first phase

NBC Universal, Inc.

The MBTA’s Green Line Extension is just months away from opening its first phase. This is big news for people in Cambridge, Somerville and Medford, who have been waiting for a long time for train service.

The massive project is taking shape. One of the most noticeable features is the new Lechmere Station in Cambridge. Unlike the old station, the new one is elevated above ground and completely modernized.

“I think it’s a huge difference,” said John Dalton, the project manager of the Green Line Extension project.

The Union Square Branch is set to open in December with the rest on track to be completed by May 2022.

“So, we’re probably around 80% complete for the whole project,” Dalton said.

The project will extend the Green Line some 4.5 miles north along two branches, from Lechmere Station to Somerville's Union Square and College Avenue in Medford.

The entire project had to be pushed back five months.

“COVID had a definite impact on the the project,” Dalton said.

There were two big reasons, he said. First, the supply chain was impacted. Second, COVID protocols at the height of the pandemic slowed down work. 

The project is now well on its way to being completed. GLX stretches 4.3 miles and there are seven new stations bringing the Green Line to Cambridge, Somerville and Medford.

“I hope it makes more of a difference for the business,” said Anita Hastir, owner of Kaya Beauty Spa on Highland Avenue in Somerville.

She said right now parking is hard to come by, but a new Green Line station will soon be a five minute walk from her businesses.

“I think for our clients, personally, I would say it’s probably better,” Hastir said.

Dalton believes GLX is a transformative change for people who live and work in the area.

Test trains will start rolling in September.

Dalton said the $2.3 billion project remains on budget and adds that the MBTA will likely return the tens of millions both Cambridge and Somerville contributed to the project.

He said the full project will be finished by May.

“Pretty confident,” Dalton said.

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