$159M contract awarded for 2 new South Coast Rail project commuter rail stations and other work

The entirety of Phase 1 of the South Coast Rail project is planned to wrap up in fall 2023.

An MBTA commuter rail train passes over the Charles River near the BU Bridge.
An MBTA commuter rail train passes over the Charles River near the BU Bridge. –Lane Turner / The Boston Globe, File

The MBTA has awarded a $159 million contract to Skanska DW White JV for work on the South Coast Rail project that includes new commuter rail stations in Freetown and Fall River.

This is just the first major construction project that’s part of Phase 1 of the MBTA’s South Coast Rail project. By the time Phase 1 is complete, estimated to finish by fall 2023, the T plans to have six new commuter rail stations and two new layover facilities with just over 37 miles of track replaced or reconstructed. The budget for Phase 1 is set at $1.047 billion, according to the T’s website.

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Phase 1 also gives riders in Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford a single-seat ride into Boston, according to the T.

“This contract award means two brand new, accessible stations built in Freetown and Fall River, a brand new layover facility with six storage tracks, and key infrastructure work on rail bridges, grade crossings, and a dozen miles of track,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement. “We’re excited to complete this work, establishing Commuter Rail passenger service to Southeastern Mass. and bringing a one-seat ride from Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford to Boston in late 2023.”

The two new stations in Freetown and Fall River are planned to be accessible and include space for passenger drop-off and an area to park bicycles. The stations will include parking — 107 spaces in Freetown and 220 in Fall River.

The T is also preparing to open bids in June for a contract to construct four new stations — Middleborough, East Taunton, Church Street, which used to be North New Bedford, and New Bedford — as well as one new layover facility plus 24 miles of track. That contract is projected at up to $400 million, according to the T.

Groundbreaking on the South Coast Rail project took place last July. When the South Coast Rail project is finished, planned for “as early as 2030,” there will be commuter rail service extending from Stoughton to New Bedford.

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