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Center Station project on track, partial re-opening in July

This rendering shows how Winchester Center station will look after accessibility improvements are complete, as seen from the inbound side. COURTESY PHOTO/MBTA

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The Winchester Center Station Accessibility Improvements Project is on track, but don’t expect it to roll in ahead of schedule.

When Select Board member John Fallon asked, during the Feb. 5 meeting, if there were “any truth to the rumors you guys will be done early,” mostly what he got was a loud laugh from Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Senior Project Manager Nathan Rae.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Senior Project Manager Nathan Rae presented the Select Board with a presentation of the work done at the Winchester Center Station. COURTESY PHOTO/MBTA

Rae was on hand to give board members an update on the construction project that started in 2022.

The station was closed in 2021 due to safety concerns. It hasn’t seen a major update since the 1950s, was in a state of disrepair and didn’t meet accessibility standards, according to the MBTA’s website, Winchester Center Station Accessibility Improvements | Projects | MBTA.

“Lot of us are familiar with what we’re doing, basically two new high level fully accessible platforms,” Rae said. “The old station was not accessible.”

The $50 million project includes three new elevators, two new ramps, covered stairs, lighting, signage, and security cameras, a complete station overhaul, Rae said.

Recent work has included getting the south end platform installed and a steel beam installed over Waterfield Road. Rae said he anticipates the rest of the platform pieces will come in, in the next month or so. On the portion he calls the West headhouse, next to the Chamber of Commerce building, a glassed-in elevator shaft is being completed.

“We’ll be starting next week with the elevator crews,” Rae told the Select Board. “The elevator crews are really important. They’re the critical path to getting the station opened and completed.”

Masons have been doing a lot of work in an area Rae called Thompson Alley, referring to Thompson Street which runs behind the building as well.

All this work is leading up to a partial reopening of the station in July.  The south half of the station, inbound and outbound platforms with one elevator each will open in July. He added the Aberjona and Waterfield lots will also reopen for parking and work should be completed on Waterfield Road.

In November, the full station will open, all platforms and elevators and Laraway Road will be open to the public for parking and traffic.

“So, a lot of activity is going on to meet this July date,” Rae said. “That’s our focus.”

Rae thanked the board and the town for its part in getting the project to the finish line.

“We’re really very appreciative for all the help,” he said. “What we’re going to do in the next few months is basically be working everywhere all the time.”

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