The Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority (MBTA) awarded a USD 159 million contract to Skanska DW White JV to construct the Fall River Secondary, the first major construction package of South Coast Rail project – phase 1, which will connect the southeastern Massachusetts and Boston.
The project is expected to be completed in 2023 providing passengers a 90-minutes travel time from Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford to Boston. This is the first direct connection since 1950s. Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford are the only major cities within 80 km of Boston that do not currently have commuter rail access to Boston.
The MBTA has obtained all required permits to begin construction, which is expected to take 30 months and begin this summer.
Under the contract, the JV will construct two commuter accessible stations in Freetown and Fall River. The new Freetown station and Fall River depot station will both include accessible high-level side platforms and feature additional amenities that include a drop-off area and bicycle parking. The contract for the South Coast Rail project also includes a depot in Fall River at Weaver’s Cove, whit 6 track. The secure site will also have an 1,800-square-foot crew building and parking areas for employees. 19
Besides the additional systems infrastructure, the Fall River Secondary contract also envisages the modernisation of 19 km of tracks, 8 rail bridges and under-grade bridge all situated in Lakeville, Freetown, and Fall River, 10 grade crossings, 6 interlockings, and 10 culverts.
The project includes the installation of new rail tracks, ballast, and sub ballast, raising the track in some locations and installing ballast vibration mitigation. Retaining walls will be constructed as required.
“The awarding of this contract makes it abundantly clear to everyone that we are going to be running passenger train service in the near future between the South Coast and Boston. This contract continues us on a path forward to beginning passenger train service in late 2023,” MassDOT CEO Stephanie Pollack said.
The South Coast Rail project consist of two phases. The first on includes the extension of a secondary line west from the existing Middleborough/Lakeville line, and create the New Bedford and Fall River lines. Under the second phase, Stoughton line will be extended to south to connect more communities to the New Bedford and Fall River lines.