Mass. Ave. construction wakes and is everywhere

Excavating by Lake St. in sun and shade, April 28.

The dormant Mass. Ave. project stirred, flexed, and roared back to life last month, with sidewalk construction presently ongoing in 3 locations.

The sprawling sidewalk work in particular seems to confound MassDOT’s commitment made at last June’s community meeting to a construction footprint that was as small and managed as possible.


Road hardware sways and dangles though Capital Square April 23.

Between the sidewalk demolition, street cutting, pole-relocation, work for new traffic signals, and other projects, construction cones and barrels seemed likely to pop up almost anywhere last month along the one-mile stretch of the Mass. Ave. Project.

New Signals

The project is replacing the 3 existing Mass. Ave. traffic signals (Teel-Thorndike, Lake, and Foster-Linwood) and adding a fourth at Bates-Marion.

Workers wrangle a signal-mast arm by Bates Rd. on May 1.

Workers wrangle a signal-mast arm by Bates Rd. on May 1.

Click any photo for a closer look.

The Teel and Foster lights had been slated for removal in an early draft of the project plan, but were retained in response to community concern.

The set-up before pouring a foudnation for a new signal mast in front of xx Calvary at the corner of Linwood St.

Set-up for pouring new signal-mast foundation in front of the Calvary Methodist Church by Linwood St. April 16.

Signal-related work is ongoing at these intersections, though the Bates signals are mostly in place (though not operational).

This work includes street excavation to perform electrical work and the pouring of concrete foundations.

Crews will then fasten the signal masts to the foundations. The mast arms that hold the signal lights go on the masts.


Workers reset a curbstone at the corner of Windsor St. on April 23.

Workers reset a curbstone at the corner of Windsor St. on April 23.

As MassDOT warned us, sidewalk crews broke ground on both sides of Mass. Ave. early this month, first east of Grafton Street (reaching Winter) and then at Pond Lane (extending a well past Linwood St).

These sites were both still being worked when the contractor opened the sidewalk between Windsor and Amsden Streets. The opening had extended west a block to Trowbridge by the end of the month.

Maida Trench

A curbstone awaits replacement at the edge of the road across from the Arlington Diner on April 23.

If you are out that way, check out the curb extension for the new crosswalk at Trowbridge (not shown).

The extent of this work seemed to frustrate the promise made by the project team that sidewalk work would proceed “block by block,” with each block taking about a week to complete.

Two cement trucks deploy on the south side om Mass. Ave. on xx.

Two cement trucks spin on the south side of Mass. Ave. by Wyman Terrace on April 24.

The contractor has poured most of the sidewalk from Pond Lane to Walgreens and has started to lay down the red decorative border across from the Capital Theater block.

However, there were many April days when opened sidewalks lay quiet and unworked.

Digging up the sidewalk by Maida Pharmacy (WIndsor St.) on April 16.

Were all 3 sidewalks being worked productively most of the time, we could be glad we are getting it over with quickly. Leaving open sidewalks idle, however, is not good for anyone.

Construction is disruption however you slice it, and there are plenty of things we’ll have to grin and bear before this thing is over next year. Night work, scheduled for this week, is sure to be a hardship for abutters.

However, that’s all the more reason to make the effort to blunt the impact on residents when feasible.


Signal masts, Bates and Mass. Ave., May 1

Click here for recent construction news.


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