MBTA Green Line Extension Project Officially Underway in Somerville

The MBTA's multi-billion dollar Green Line Extension project is underway.

Gov. Charlie Baker joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone for a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for the $2.3 billion Green Line extension project. It's designed to extend the public transit line about 4.7 miles through east Cambridge into Somerville and Medford.

Chao used the event to announce the release of a $225 million federal grant agreement for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to extend the Green Line.

The project includes seven new light rail stations, the replacement or rehabilitation of eight bridges, and a new pedestrian/bike path.

The extension is expected to generate about 40,000 new transit trips a day, improving access to jobs and opportunities in Boston and the communities of Somerville and Medford.

"It will be good for business once it's open," said Joe Zoccola, owner of a bar in Somerville.

The Ball Square neighborhood will have one of the stops on the brand new line.

"Easy to get to, a lot of them can walk," Zoccola said.

Brandon Wilson with the city's planning department said the extension project could bring even more economic changes to a neighborhood that is already dealing with rising rents.

"With the improved transit amenities, come higher real estate prices, but I don’t think we should use that as a reason for not moving forward," said Rep. Mike Connolly.

With the construction, there will be challenges with road closures and heavy traffic. But overall, area residents and lawmakers said the extension project is moving in the right direction.

"A whole bunch of people with a lot of different interests, found a way to come together, dramatically reduce the overall price of this project," Baker said.

The project is expected to be completed sometime in 2021.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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