Overnight Road Paving Along Belmont/Trapelo Begins Monday, June 13

Photo: Paving tonight.

Begining tonight, Monday, June 13, crews from Newport Construction will be paving overnight the segment of Trapelo Road and Belmont Street between Cushing Square (Trapelo Road and Common Street) and the Cambridge/Belmont line at Ericcson Street.

All overnight work will occur between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Weather permitting, paving is expected to be completed by Saturday, June 18.

Following the completion of paving crews will begin the installation of final pavement markers along the corridor. This portion of the Trapelo Road/Belmont Street Reconstruction Project will also occur between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. beginning Wednesday, June 15 and run for approximately three weeks.

Access to driveways along the work area may be restricted, so residents are encouraged to park on side streets away from Trapelo Road and Belmont Street if they will need to access their vehicle overnight. 

Please note that this work is weather dependent and might be subject to change if conditions aren’t favorable.

Any questions should be directed to Ryan Gleason of Newport Construction at 603-765-2173 or Belmont’s Office of Community Development at 617-993-2650. Ask for Glenn.

Overnight Paving on Belmont Street to Cambridge Line Set for Mid-June

Photo: Belmont Street, readied to be paved again. 

One of the last major components of the $17.1 million state-financed Trapelo Road/Belmont Street Reconstruction Project will get underway as the Board of Selectmen approved approximately a week of overnight paving of Belmont Street and a portion of Trapelo Road from Common Street in Cushing Square to Erickson Street on the Cambridge city line. 

Beginning Monday night, June 13, Newport Construction will be paving the main thoroughfare between 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for six nights until June 18, said Glenn Clancy, town engineer and director of the Office of Community Development. 

Access to driveways along the work area may be restricted so residents should park on side streets away from Belmont Street if there is a need to access a vehicle overnight.

Residents with questions should contact the office of Community Development at 617-993-2665.

New Cushing Square Traffic Light Pattern Set to Start May 31

Photo: The intersection at Cushing Square.

As of May 31, driving efficiency will be coming to Cushing Square, whether you’re ready or not.

While it was apparent that many residents were happy with the old pattern of traffic lights at the busy intersection of Trapelo Road and Common Street, one entity that wasn’t were the engineers from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation which has been working on the $17 million Trapelo Road/Belmont Street Corridor Reconstruction project for the past two years.

According to State Sen. Will Brownsberger in a note to his constituents, the engineers will introduce a new traffic light phasing that will allow a greater number of vehicles to move through the square than under the current system.

This is the state’s second attempt to alter the long-time pattern of red and green lights at the corner – last fall it tried unsuccessfully to change the light phasing only to go back to the pre-project configuration.

The current system allows vehicles on Common Street headed towards Watertown get a green light to either travel straight or take a left while cars headed down Common into Belmont have to stop at a red light. Then, that reverses happens.

“This is very inefficient because most of the traffic in both directions would like to go straight. One wants the two straight movements to share green time,” noted Brownsberger. “After a lot of debate, a new approach has emerged which should be clear for drivers and is more efficient than any of the previously attempted configurations.”

The engineer’s explanation of this new approach appears below (with some additions from me):

  • For vehicles traveling on Trapelo Road, there will be no change.
  • The south bound Common Street (towards Watertown) lights will have a left arrow and a green ball light that still turn green simultaneously.
  • But, the south-bound green arrow will turn to red while the south bound straight ball light remains green, allowing vehicles on Common Street heading toward Watertown to continue towards Watertown.  But vehicles in the left turn lane which are turning left onto Trapelo Road will have to stop.
  • When that south-bound left arrow goes red, the north-Belmont bound Common Street lights will go green for both north lanes.  For south bound vehicles on Common Street in the right lane and heading toward Watertown, they will find that, during the latter part of their green phase, traffic will start coming from the opposite direction of Common Street and some of that traffic will be wanting to turn left in front of them.
  • The North Belmont bound vehicles will see green balls only (no left arrow), as is common at many intersections around the state. There will be a “left-turn-yield-on-green ball” sign, again as is common at many intersections. For vehicles on Common Street coming from Watertown, they will now find that traffic will be coming from the opposite direction of Common Street when they have the green indication and the vehicles turning left into Trapelo Road toward Waverley Square will need to yield to traffic coming from the other direction of Common Street.

“The beauty of this approach is that (a) the signage will be simpler — the complicated signs with three-headed arrows will be less critical; and (b) if north-bound traffic makes the mistake that it tends to make — thinking that the straight move to continue on Common Street is a left turn, they will actually not conflict with the straight movement from the other direction,” said Brownsberger.

The only time they will need to think is when they are making the hard left onto Trapelo and on that movement, it is reasonable to expect the drivers will exercise the caution that they generally should on a left turn with no arrow, he noted.

Update on Belmont/Trapelo Corridor Project Set for Tuesday, March 15

Photo: The project.

Wonder why all the new street signs along Belmont Steet and Trapelo Road so big? When is the MBTA going to return electric buses on Route 73? And when will the final paving start along the main corridor through Belmont between Cambridge and Waltham?

These and other questions, along with a chance for the public to give its two cents on the state-financed Belmont/Trapelo corridor project, will be answered as State Sen. Will Brownsberger will  be hosting an update meeting on the project, Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Belmont Art Gallery on the third floor of the Homer Municipal Building, next to Belmont Town Hall in Belmont Center.

Residents can get the latest on the project’s status here.

Belmont Street Will Be a Milling Mess Monday, Tuesday

Photo: More work on Belmont Street.

Go away.

That is likely the best advice for those daily commuters who travel along the lower section of Belmont Street as the main thoroughfare from School Street to the Cambridge line will become an active construction site on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 3 and 4.

Nashua, NH-based Newport Construction will be micro-milling –  where the pavement is removed, ground up then reused as the aggregate in new pavement – on Belmont Street from School Street to and including the intersection of Ericsson Road.

The work – part of the $17 million Trapelo Road/Belmont Street Corridor Reconstruction Project running from Cambridge-to-Waltham – will require traffic to proceed in single lanes with major delays due to heavy construction equipment on the road.

All of Belmont Street between those two intersections will be posted for “NO PARKING” in preparation for the milling on Monday.

Belmont/Trapelo Corridor Repaving ‘On Schedule’

Photo: Paving work underway along Belmont Street.

Despite construction equipment on the road and travel limited to single lanes along one of Belmont’s busiest throughways, the major paving work along the Belmont Street/Trapelo Road Corridor is “on schedule,” according to construction officials at the work site.

The laying down of several inches of asphalt should be completed by the end of the construction day at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, June 30.

A final topcoat of paving material will be applied along the entire reconstruction route when the project is completed early in the spring of 2016. 

The paving work from Cushing Square (at the intersection of Trapelo Road and Common Street) to the corner of Belmont Street and School Street is part of the $17 million reconstruction of the 2.5 mile route from the Waltham to the Cambridge town lines. 

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Selectmen Approve Earlier Morning Start for Trapelo/Belmont Project

Photo: Reconstruction roadwork in Cushing Square.

Faced with the possibility of a delay in the completion of the massive – and intrusive – road project running through the heart of the town, the Belmont Board of Selectmen approved a request by the contractor of the Trapelo Road/Belmont Street Corridor Reconstruction Project to begin its workday an hour-and-a-half earlier at 5:30 a.m.

The board also agreed to a request to allow Newport Construction Corp. of Nashua, NH to work on Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

The new hours – which will be in effect for the duration of the project – will begin in “the next couple of weeks,” said Newport’s Project Manager John Gleason. 

The $17.2 million state-funded project broke ground in the fall of 2013, starting the reconstruction of streets, sidewalks and curbs at Mill Street near the Waltham town line. Newport is currently in Cushing Square as the works heads eastward towards Cambridge. 

According to Gleason and Ron Strangfeld, the project’s Massachusetts Department of Transportation resident engineer, delays due to weather and other issues put the project off its schedule of completing the reconstruction and final paving by the end of the 2015 construction season. They calculate the project “currently is not on target.”

Adding 15 working hours per week to the job – which Gleason and Strangfeld said is 50 percent complete – “will allow the project to be finished on time” in September. 

Gleason told Selectmen Chair Andy Rojas that the first half hour will be for “things that we can do quietly” such as setting up signs and barriers as well as the delivery of concrete.

While there will be some activity, “you won’t hear jackhammering or any loud machines,” he said. 

The town will send leaflets to businesses and residents with information on the new hours. 

Trapelo/Belmont Reconstruction Begins In Cushing Square with Project Nearly Half Complete

Traveling from Belmont’s Cushing Square to the Cambridge town line will be filled with delays, lane closures and dodging very large mechanical vehicles as the Trapelo Road/Belmont Street Reconstruction project begin its downhill descent towards completion as today, Tuesday, Jan. 6, an excavator digger tore into the center of Trapelo at Common Street. 

The current work includes installing traffic signal conduits and drainage along Trapelo Road as weather permits.

The nearly $17.1 million reconstruction of the main artery running through Belmont between Cambridge and Waltham is 41 percent complete, according to the latest update from Ronald Strangfeld, the resident engineer with the state’s Department of Transportation (MassDOT) which is financing and managing the project.

Begun in October 2013, the multi-section project started at the Waltham line and headed easterly.

This latest segment of the project, from Common Street to Payson Road, is scheduled to be completed by early June 2015.

According to the current MassDOT timeline, the entire project should be finished in September. This summer, landscaping is scheduled to begin which will include the planting of 200 new trees.