South Coast Rail construction resumes, Massachusetts

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Construction work on the US$1.1 billion South Coast Rail commuter rail project in Fall River has picked up and will continue to increase over the next eight weeks. Construction adjacent to and beneath the Pearce Street railroad bridge near Davol Street, site of the future Rail Fall River Depot Station, is scheduled each day for 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The same weekday hours will be utilized at the 20-acre site listed as 2680 North Main St., where the Weaver’s Cove “layover facility” is being built, a facility where trains are stored overnight for cleaning, fueling and light maintenance, is being built in New Bedford at what will be called the Wamsutta layover facility.

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Construction crews at the split-level Pearce Street site will install micropiles as part of the elevated train station’s foundation and will also be building a stormwater detention tank. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which is managing the South Coast Rail project, has said that commuter service from Boston’s South Station to Fall River, New Bedford, and Taunton will commence before the end of 2023. Officials from the authority previously have said that implementation of the Phase 2 version using electric engines on new rail lines running south from Stoughton would cost at least US$3.4 billion and would not be completed until 2030.

Bob Campbell, the MBTA’s director of design administration for South Coast Rail, said there may not be necessary to remove the contaminated soil at the Pearce Street site “depending on how things shake out.” The new Fall River train station will sit just north of the original commuter-rail Fall River Depot, which was operational until 1958 and was located at 870 Davol St. “This has been 20 years in the making if not longer, and I’m excited. It’s going to be a great catalyst for economic growth,” Mayor Coogan said.