After years of stagnation, the plan to extend the Green Line is officially underway. The $2.3 billion project is set to be completed and tested in 2020 and will begin providing service to residents the following year in 2021.
The extension is set to add 4.7 miles of new service throughout Somerville and Medford while also slightly relocating Lechmere in Cambridge. From Lechmere there will be two branches that extend North, the main branch and the second branch. The main branch will add five new stops in the order of East Somerville, Gilman Square, Magoun Square, Ball Square, and end at College Avenue near Tufts University. These 3.7 miles will be a part of the “D” branch of the Green Line.
The second branch will add one new stop extending from Lechmere to Union Square. This 1-mile extension will be a part of the “E” branch. There will also be 24 new Green Line cars added with the extension in order to assure fast service and not increase wait times with the miles of added tracks.
The project is said to gain 7,000-8,000 new transit users once completed. Residents in both Somerville and Medford will be able to commute in and out of the city more easily with the added convenience. The extended service will not only gain new commuters, but better serve those who already rely on the subway on a regular basis. Currently, a large number of Green Line passengers are beginning their commute on the Orange or Red Line, later switching at larger stations that connect to the Green Line.
According to the MassDOT website, the extension will decrease the number of cars on the road in the morning as well. This will not only reduce the amount of morning and evening traffic, but improve air quality and serve as a more environmentally-friendly commuting option. The project also aims to maximize the usage of already existing railroad rights-of-way in order to reduce construction impacts and avoid purchasing local property as much as possible.
Although the project is a few years away from being completed, locals are eager for the extension to begin providing service after waiting almost three decades to get it started.