Casey demo to begin this winter

Demolition and construction on the Casey Arborway project is expected to begin this winter, following the state Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) vote to approve Barletta Heavy Division Corp.’s bid for the $60 million project.

The “Notice To Proceed,” a document that is issued after the contractor’s plan is approved, will likely be issued in mid-December, MassDOT spokesperson Michael Verseckes told the Gazette this week, and the start of construction work will follow at least 30 days thereafter, though the exact timeline has not yet been set.

A public meeting will also be held before construction begins on the project.

“It would not make much sense to schedule [a community meeting] right around the holidays,” Verseckes said.

This is a delay of the original timeline that had demolition beginning significantly earlier in the year, and a likely slight further delay from a revised schedule, which stated that demolition was expected to begin by the year’s end.

The work schedule will also dictate where and when any detours will happen.

Blasting is “highly unlikely” to be needed for the construction project, Verseckes added.

“While technically possible, this area of Forest Hills is a dense residential area, with an aged bridge, over a subway tunnel, with a high volume of regional traffic, and a significant amount of pedestrians. Measures to protect against any kind of secondary, unintended damage would make the use of blasting cost prohibitive,” Verseckes said.

Project community advisory group member and resident of the Asticou/Martinwood neighborhood Bernie Doherty told the Gazette that he wants community concerns to be heard during the construction project.

Doherty is also a member of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Forest Hills developments, which was created to oversee and organize community involvement with the many development and construction projects expected in that area in the next few years.

“I intend to keep pushing forward what is right for the people,” he told the Gazette this week, mentioning concerns about how the chemical make-up of the concrete to be demolished could impact the health of residents and with contractors not working late into the night to meet financial incentives.

The project bid price does not include certain fixed costs that are associated with the project. Those include traffic police, railroad flaggers and contingencies, among others.

“Bid prices are comprised of various categories that will have different values based on each contractors’ ability to get a more competitive price” on that category, Verseckes said. “The construction contract factors in certain variables that are assumed to be fixed costs, so they are taken out of the bidding.”

Additional costs not included in the bid price bring the total project cost up to about $74.1 million.

“We’ve been trying to stick to the contract value because that is a more accurate reflection of a project’s cost, and it’s confusing to explain to people why there is that differential in prices,” he explained.

The $59.925 million bid price includes $10.4 million in work to be done to Forest Hills MBTA station as part of the project.

Public comments and concerns about the project can be directed to MassDOT representatives John Romano and Jim Kersten at [email protected].

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