Transit Triumph

by Rita Robison, Assoc. Ed.; Civil Engineering—ASCE, New York, NY,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 7, Pg. 38-41

Document Type: Feature article


The 1988 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement is Boston's Southwest Corridor, chosen not only for its size, complexity and technology, but for its environmental, public policy and social benefits. The project, which took 10 years to construct, integrates and relocated rapid transit and railroad service while revitalizing the neighborhoods along its 4.7 mile path. Three high speed railroad tracks and the antiquated Orange Line, including its elevated segment, were relocated below grade in an open cut right-of-way. Some of the extensive foundation work such as slurry walls and innovative piles, was designed to protect adjacent historic buildings. A major storm drainage system was kept in service during its relocation. Intense community involvement (more than 1,000 meetings were held) led to constructing 52 acres of neighborhood linear parks and new bridges for cross streets to improve access between neighborhoods. New stations were designed as transportation hubs and neighborhood landmarks. The entire project, owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, cost $743 million and is the largest ever undertaken in the state. It originated with public rejection in the late 1960's of a 12-lane urban highway—the first time that federal money was transferred to a transit project.

Subject Headings: Residential location | Project management | Rail transportation | Public transportation | Foundation design | Pile foundations | Bridge design | Building design | Massachusetts | United States

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