The MBTA has been in the process of designing renovations for the Winchester Center Commuter Rail Station. Monday night selectmen heard from Frank Astone of Jacob’s Engineering who updated them on the progress of the station.
“The station in Winchester center was in disrepair. It was built in the 1950s and had reached the end of its’ functional life,” Astone said. “A total renovation with all current MBTA Commuter Rail Station elements, platforms, canopies, lighting, communications and signs is being designed. The current plan needs to meet the ADA standards and the T will take no permanent property.”
The proposition calls for the town to grant temporary easements for construction, including the removal of the existing Chamber of Commerce building so the MBTA can utilize the area for staging. It also calls for the widening of the existing pedestrian tunnel to provide vehicle access between the Aberjona and Waterfield parking lots while creating a new pedestrian tunnel connecting the Town Common with Thompson Street. The project will keep Commuter Rail service going during construction and minimize the construction related impacts on the surrounding area.
“This project will aim to limit noise pollution, seeing as this line is used by Amtrak and Pan Am Railways,” Astone said. “It will also maintain the aesthetics and restore the Aberjona and Waterfield parking lots while exploring the feasibility of widening the underpass for cars.”
“The next steps include an MBTA Request for Proposal from shortlisted firms, selecting an engineering consultant for the final design and secure funding,” Astone said. “After that, we design the station, which should take 12 to 18 months and construction, which should take 20 to 24 months. All the while, we maintain coordination with the Town Working Committee.”
MBTA Director of Commuter Rail Projects Jamie Jackson said this project currently is funded through the design phase. There is no estimate on when construction costs will be secured yet.
“Construction is estimated to begin in the spring of 2014,” Jackson said. “It is estimated to cost $15 million and the project will take a year and a half to two years to complete.”