Final Phase of Construction on Greenway to Start

ggAfter months of delays, the City of Boston announced this week it will begin construction on the last third of a mile of the East Boston Greenway to connect the route to Constitution Beach.

“Site prep, consisting mostly of tree removal to make way for the extension, will take place over the next two weekends, beginning this week,” said Boston Redevelopment Authority spokesman Nick Martin. “The prep work will take no more than four weekend days, and it will be conducted during daylight hours.”

Martin said next week, the BRA board is expected to approve a general construction services contract to allow construction to begin in earnest within the next several weeks.

“Our goal is to complete the project in the fall,” said Martin.

With the surveying and design work nearly complete Martin said the BRA expects a relatively short construction period of about 12 weeks once shovels are in the ground

The City of Boston sent out bids in the spring to complete the Greenway Connector from the already finished Massport section to Constitution Beach. Last summer Massport opened their section of the Greenway Connector which runs from Frankfort Street to Short Street but the section that is being worked on by the BRA had run into some snags.

Martin previously explained there were some hiccups that slowed down the process. Martin said the challenge with this particular project stems from the fact that none of the land is city-owned.

“That last 1/4 mile is split in ownership between Massport, the MBTA, and DCR, which has required a lot of negotiation over access and the phasing of construction,” said Martin. “We’re close to having all of our access agreements in place, and we’re working on a construction timeline that accommodates the needs of the T because some of the work–tree removal, for example–will not be able to happen while the Blue Line is operating.”

Martin said the T did not want to jeopardize power to the trains if something unforeseen happened during construction and the city was working with the T to determine a construction schedule that aligns with their operational needs.

Plans for the BRA extension shows a 12ft.-wide multi-use path for walking, bike riding and rollerblading as well as a 10ft. vinyl-clad fence that will separate the path from the abutting MBTA Blue Line.

Last summer, after years of planning and development the first section of the East Boston Greenway Connector opened to the public.

This section of the Greenway Connector, built by Massport, opened with a new path that runs from Frankfort and Lovell Streets just beyond Bremen Street Park to a scenic vista at the Wood Island Bay Marsh, three-quarter miles away.

In 2011 Massport’s Board voted to approve the community and city’s request to use a small stretch of Massport owned property that use to be part of the famed Wood Island Park in order to connect the Bremen Street Park with a greenway path that will extend to Constitution Beach.

The path will extend from the Bremen Street Park and end at Constitution Beach.

The city and Massport cut the ribbon on the greenway extension in November 2012.

In April 2011, at a Boston Conservation Commission hearing, the Commission reviewed Massport’s permit application for a proposed Green Bus Depot at Logan International Airport and voted to grant an Order of Conditions (wetland permit) for the project.

At the hearing, the commissioners applauded the efforts made to date to advance the greenway connector and voted to approve a permit with the proviso that Massport continue to work with City of Boston agencies and residents on the planning of a greenway connection to link Bremen Street Park to Constitution Beach and other resource areas.

Greenway proponents spearheaded by community activists like Chris Marchi and Gail Miller, in return for support for a Bus Depot at Logan, had spent two year fighting for the right to use a 25 ft. corridor between the proposed Logan Bus Depot and the community as a way to connect Bremen Street Park to Constitution Beach. This would once and for all connect waterfront parks in the southern part of the neighborhood with parks and airport edge buffers in the northern part of Eastie. This will allow for one continuous park system and allow adults and children to ride their bikes, jog, rollerblade or take part in other leisurely activities without being dependent on busy neighborhood streets like Bennington Street.

The Commission initially refused to sign off on Massport’s plans to construct a Bus Depot in Logan’s Northwest Service Area until it sat down with proponents of the greenway extension plan.

At the request of then mayor the late Thomas Menino and elected officials, a collaborative effort was developed between Massport and staff from city agencies to assess pathway design options that will address public safety, airport security and community access to their open space resources.

This work ultimately lead to the Massport Board’s vote to approve the community’s plans.

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