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Makeover of Winchester Commuter Rail Station in Massachusetts Has Started

Tue July 05, 2022 - Northeast Edition
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

MassDOT, the MBTA, local elected leaders, community partners and others joined together to celebrate a groundbreaking for upcoming improvements at Winchester Center station. (Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority)
MassDOT, the MBTA, local elected leaders, community partners and others joined together to celebrate a groundbreaking for upcoming improvements at Winchester Center station. (Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority)

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary Jamey Tesler and Steve Poftak, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), led a contingent of state and local leaders, community partners and others June 30 at the groundbreaking of upcoming improvements to the Winchester Center station on the Lowell Commuter Rail Line.

Winchester Center station was closed in January 2021 due to a need for repairs on the facility, which had not had any major updates since the 1950s. Additionally, it no longer met current accessibility standards, according to MBTA.

The scheduled improvements will completely makeover Winchester Center station and include structural safety repairs and upgrades to accessibility and facility capacity. With a construction cost of approximately $50 million, the 21st-century station will feature modern high-level and accessible platforms to allow for easy boarding and to accommodate longer, nine-car trains.

Other updates are slated to reconstruct access ramps and add new elevators for better accessibility; upgrade canopies, signs, railings and lighting for safety and security; provide new benches, bike racks, a public address system and other amenities for comfort and convenience; and build walkways, sidewalks and parking lot areas.

"Allowing for important safety upgrades, increased station capacity and improved accessibility for people of all abilities, renovating Winchester Center station is an important investment in our commuter rail infrastructure with many upgrades to come for riders," explained MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak at the project's kickoff event.

"We're pleased to celebrate this groundbreaking here today and look forward to celebrating the re-opening of Winchester Center station when complete. Thank you to our partners at MassDOT, local leaders, transportation advocates and our riders for their support as we work to complete this project."

MBTA noted that the renovated Winchester Center station is expected to open to Lowell Line riders in spring 2024.

"Winchester Center station is an example of the MBTA collaborating with the communities it serves to make important safety upgrades while also improving the customer experience," said MassDOT's Tesler. "These efforts continue to deliver on the Baker-Polito Administration's commitment to providing reliable, accessible service for all riders. I thank the MBTA for its work on this project and for continuing to prioritize infrastructure investments like this renovated station, and we thank those who continue to support critical capital investments as we modernize the T."

Work to Get Busier in Coming Weeks

Construction work will take place at Winchester Center station throughout the rest of summer, and into the fall and winter, MBTA noted. The renovation work at the commuter station this summer includes continued demolition work and the installation of micropiles to reinforce the building's foundation.

The surrounding neighborhood is asked to be patient as increased noise from the construction can be expected from the use of heavy equipment and machinery, according to the transit authority.

Work will primarily take place during the day, Monday through Friday, from approximately 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Construction advisories will be distributed ahead of any scheduled night or weekend work, if necessary.

Construction set to take place in the late summer and into early winter in 2023 includes drilling shafts, installing micropiles, and constructing platforms, ramps and a headhouse, or the aboveground part of the transit station. In addition, elevator foundation and structure preparation work in the Aberjona and Waterfield areas will be performed in the coming weeks.

This fall, MBTA plans to oversee the installation of micropiles in the Quill Rotary area as well as drilling shafts, and the beginning of the construction of station entrances in the Laraway area.

The construction's impact on local parking began April 4, MBTA noted, and will continue through the completion of the enterprise.

Laraway Road also will remain closed for the duration of the work, and portions of the Waterfield and Aberjona parking areas will be unavailable during construction. The installation of a temporary crosswalk has displaced parking on Winchester's Waterfield Road, adjacent to Laraway Road.

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