A rendering of the station elements, viewed from the platform. (Courtesy of MBTA)
The ongoing renovation and construction project at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) Natick Center commuter rail station is making progress, which means another closure is upon its riders.
Patch, the online local news service, reported March 7 that MBTA officials announced, due to construction and demolition activities, the pedestrian bridge at the station has been closed, and will remain so until another is rebuilt this year.
The update followed shortly after news in mid-February that the entrances to the station were changed for the same construction project. MBTA said the Natick Center entrances are being moved to Washington Street for access to inbound and outbound platforms through the end of 2023.
The adjustment will allow the contractor to safely and efficiently complete work on the west end of the station's new accessible platforms, according to transit officials.
The Natick Center ranks in the top 25 percent of busiest commuter rail stations in the state's system, according to MBTA.
MBTA Unveils 2023-24 Timeline to Completion
A contract for the building project was awarded in November 2019, and construction began the following spring.
Anticipated completion of the Natick Center Station has been extended to early 2024, but the facility will continue to operate throughout its renovation.
The $36.2 million project will feature two new elevators, two accessible ramps, and six stairways, all aimed at improving accessibility and rider experience as well as bringing it into compliance with updated accessibility standards.
MBTA noted that the 2023 work schedule will include the installation of the station's full-length, high-level platforms for easier boarding, as well as the stairs and elevators. After the first of next year, crews will turn their attention to demolishing existing temporary platforms, creating new streetscapes, and building the Cochituate Rail Trail connection.
Other upgrades to the Natick Center station over the next year include:
- Replacement of the existing pedestrian bridge.
- Improved amenities including new canopies, bicycle parking, better signage, wayfinding and emergency lighting.
- Modern drainage infrastructure for better flood prevention.
Due to upcoming construction activities and demolition, nearby Moran Park at Natick Center was closed March 2 and will remain shuttered until the new pedestrian structure is completed at the end of 2023. MBTA noted the park's closure is necessary to ensure the safety of residents.
The state transit authority also said its construction at the Natick Center will primarily take place on weekdays during daytime hours, while nighttime work will only be performed as needed.
To keep the public safe, MBTA also has installed temporary supplemental and emergency lighting at the station. It expects the lighting to remain in place until the station's permanent and emergency lighting fixtures are ready for use. The interim lights are set to be directed downward, the agency said, with little to no light spilling over onto adjacent properties.
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