Gov. Maura Healey’s administration this week submitted $2 billion in federal grant applications for a variety of statewide transportation projects, including one familiar with local commuter rail passengers.
The MBTA is seeking $672 million in grants from the National Infrastructure Project Assistance and Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highways Projects programs for the construction phase of the North Station Renovation and Draw 1 Bridge Replacement Project that would improve service.
“The project to replace the North Station drawbridge is crucial to ensuring that we can safely and reliably provide train service in and out of North Station. It will allow us to operate trains more efficiently as we expand the number of tracks across a new bridge,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng.
Draw 1 is a called a “critical connection” that carries all MBTA Commuter Rail traffic on the north side of Boston across the Haverhill, Fitchburg, Lowell and Gloucester/Newburyport lines. It is the last crossing before these trains reach North Station. It also supports Amtrak’s Downeaster as 10 Downeaster trains traverse the bridge into Boston daily.
Officials said the existing bridge structure and associated signaling and control tower are outdated and in need of significant repair and maintenance, leading to service delays. In addition to replacing the bridge and upgrading signals, the project will also widen a bottleneck across the bridge from four to six tracks and extend and activate two additional tracks at North Station.
Other federal grant requests would support the Cape Cod bridges, Allston I-90 multimodal project and the Williamsburg Route 9 Reconstruction.
Healey said, “From day one, we said our administration was going to compete for the unprecedented level of federal funding opportunities available to support infrastructure projects across our state that are crucial to our communities, economies and environment.”