The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) approved a $159m contract with Skanska DW White JV for the construction of the Fall River Secondary in the US.

This is the first main construction package of Phase 1 of South Coast Rail.

After completion in 2023, Phase 1 will link southeastern Massachusetts and Boston, as well as offer travellers with a one-seat trip to Boston from Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford in under 90min.

South Coast Rail has so far invested $100m for construction work, real estate acquisitions, vehicle procurement, and other associated design and contract management or administration.

In July 2019, MBTA started the construction of the South Coast Rail project.

According to the contract, the JV will be responsible for the construction of two new commuter rail stations in Freetown and Fall River.

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The new Freetown and Fall River Depot stations will feature high-level accessible side platforms and other amenities such as drop-off area and bicycle parking.

The contractor will also build a layover facility for train storage at Weaver’s Cove in Fall River. The facility will include six tracks for the storage of trains before and after service.

The Fall River Secondary contract also covers the construction of 12-miles of track, eight railroad bridges and an under-grade bridge.

Work for ten grade crossings, six interlockings, ten culverts, and additional systems infrastructure is also included.

Additionally, the work will include the new rail, ballast, and sub-ballast installation, raising the track in some places and installation of ballast vibration mitigation.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said: “This award by the FMCB is a major step forward for South Coast Rail as we continue to build upon the foundation MassDOT provided for this project.”

MassDOT secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack added: “The awarding of this contract makes it abundantly clear to everyone that we are going to be running passenger train service in the near future between the South Coast and Boston.

“This contract installs or repairs track infrastructure, train layover space, grade crossings, bridges, parking lots and stations. This contract continues us on a path forward to beginning passenger train service in late 2023.”