It's going to take at least a few more years than anticipated to complete the Green Line Extension Project, the Department of Transportation announced Monday.
Following a four-month-long cost and schedule analysis, the Green Line Extension project team decided the completion of the project, previously projected for October 2015, will take until fall of 2018 at the soonest or summer 2020 at the latest, according to a press release from the Department of Transportation.
In an effort to speed up implementing the extension, MassDOT and the MBTA are considering a "phasing" scenario that would allow for some stations to open for public use while others are still being constructed, the press release said. It did not specify which stations would be first to open.
The project will extend the Green Line from it's current final northbound stop at Lechmere in Cambridge through East Somerville, with a final stop at the intersection of College Avenue and Boston Avenue in Medford. A total of seven stops will be installed at a projected cost of $1 billion.
A possible second phase of the project would continue the line from College Avenue to Mystic Valley Parkway near the Medford/Somerville line.
The new time range for completion is contingent on the MBTA taking full ownership of property required for construction, the press release said.
According to the status report, "MassDOT and the MBTA now have a much deeper and more nuanced understanding of the constraints and limitations that must be managed in order to implement the Green Line Extension project."
The report continues to say, "We are now projecting a timeframe ... for the introduction of revenue service on the Green Line Extension. The points within the timeframe are associated with different probabilities, as shown below:
- 10% Probability of Not Exceeding – September 2018
- 50% Probability of Not Exceeding – June 2019
- 90% Probability of Not Exceeding – July 2020"
The MassDOT status report names funding as one of the major obstacles faced by the planned Green Line Extension. The project is seeking federal funding as part of the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts program, the MassDOT status report says.
"The challenges related to the New Starts process—a complex, demanding, and time-consuming process—have added substantial time to the schedule for initiating design of the Green Line Extension project," the report says.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is committed to funding the Green Line Extension with money from transportation bonds, according to the report, but the ongoing costs of operating the Green Line Extension, which would be fall on the shoulders of the cash-strapped MBTA, could hurt the project's chances for federal New Starts funding.
"[T]here will be ongoing operating expenses associated with running the expanded Green Line that must be borne by the MBTA. We are therefore concerned about the effect that the enormously constrained financial condition of the MBTA system will have on our chances of success within the New Starts program," the report says.