Central Artery/ Tunnel – C17AA – I-93 Tunnel Finishes

Boston, MA

In this one-of-a kind Project for the MassDOT, McCourt/Obayashi (A Joint Venture for which McCourt was the lead partner) was tasked with constructing the interior finises of the I-93 Central Artery Tunnel. The work involved with this project included installing 30,000 lb precast ceiling modules and wall panels (as well as installing the structural steel for these panels); paving the roadway with microsilica concrete and bituminous concrete; installing handrails and other prefabbed steel; fireproofing the entire tunnel; and constructing the electrical infrastructure, dry standpipe fire protection system, pump stations, and ventilation fans. Additional work in this contract included: construction of the I-93 interchange at Massachusetts Avenue and Andrew Square, leak repair, crack repair, bridge joint reconstruction over the Fort Point Channel, and gloryhole maintenance.

MassDOT included in this project an optional scheduling incentive fee program. The incentive fee program created a bonus pool, which was paid out based on a scheduling cooperation rating. McCourt/Obayashi received average “cooperation grades” in excess of 90 percent. McCourt/Obayashi was also charged with assisting the CA/T project with an accelerated tunnel opening for the South Bound Tunnel by three months, which included reconfiguring the opening of specific ramps and working several trades in the same area.

Finally, McCourt/Obayashi was tasked with the politically-sensitive job of securing, repairing, retrofitting and reopening the I-90 tunnel after the ceiling panel collapse closed the entire Ted Williams Tunnel (built by a different contractor). This required increasing the number of tradesmen and supervisory people by over 200 employees in less than a month. McCourt/Obayashi worked hand-in-hand with the designer and owner to engineer a new anchoring system that allowed the ceiling panels to be installed quickly, safely and permanently.

After the project MassDOT was so impressed by McCourt’s custom-built panel installation equipment that the agency purchased it from McCourt.

Project Overview
Owner: Massachusetts Turnpike Authority
Final Value: $280,000,000
Completion Date: May, 2008

Unique Project Features
• Completed tunnel finishes for a new two-mile tunnel through downtown Boston
• Aggressive schedule incentive fee program
• 15 Ton ceiling modules to be assembled and installed in a low head room area
• Emergency design, repair, and retrofit of ceiling modules in an adjoining tunnel
• Lead partner in a joint venture with one of the world’s largest contractors

Project Awards and Accolades
• 2001 Excellence in Building Award – Artery Business Committee
• 2002 Construction Quality Award – Mass Turnpike Authority
• 2003 Construction Quality Award – Mass Turnpike Authority
• 2003 “Top 25 NewsMakers of 2002” – Engineering News Record
• 2005 Construction Quality Award – Mass Turnpike Authority
• 2006 Named “Public Project of the Year” – Construction Management Association of America
• Numerous health and safety awards – Mass Turnpike Authority

Project will be complete by summer’s end.

Thursday, May 1, 2008
BU Today
By Vicky Waltz

The barrels and traffic cones that march up Commonwealth Avenue from Kenmore Square have become such campus fixtures that some might suggest changing the University’s colors from scarlet and white to orange and white. But the construction project that has snarled vehicular and pedestrian traffic along Comm Ave for the past two years is drawing to a close.

“Everything will be completed by move-in weekend in August,” says Michael Hathaway, assistant vice president for campus planning and construction. “And a lot of it will be finished in time for Commencement.”

While 50,000 people are expected for Commencement, on Sunday, May 18, Hathaway does not anticipate any problems. “Of course, safety and accessibility are our primary concerns for the weekend,” he says. “But we have never had any problems in the past.”

The project, which began in summer 2006, is part of a Massachusetts Highway Department effort to spruce up Commonwealth Avenue and make it more pedestrian-friendly. Last winter, crews eliminated one of three traffic lanes on the street’s westbound side, as well as the left-turn lane at Sherborn Street. Workers widened the sidewalks and installed raised granite planters, benches, and bicycle racks. Landscaping crews are now planting a total of 200 trees to create a green buffer between the buildings and the street.

“When everything is done, it’s going to look like a completely different campus,” Hathaway says. What had been a mile-long stretch of concrete and asphalt between Kenmore Square and the BU Bridge will more closely resemble the Emerald Necklace, as the city’s parkways are known, designed by renowned 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

The most significant changes involve major upgrades in pedestrian safety, Hathaway says. The sidewalks and crosswalks were widened to better accommodate the area’s high volume of foot traffic, and disability access was enhanced. In addition, a travel lane is being added to the westbound corner of Commonwealth Avenue at the BU Academy parking lot area to help minimize traffic congestion and make pedestrian crossings easier.

Although the construction project is a state initiative, BU has contributed more than $3 million toward the improvements, according to Hathaway. The moneypaid for irrigation and landscaping, the granite planters, decorative bricks, benches, bike racks, trash receptacles, plants, trees, and soil.

Throughout the project, the University has remained in regular contact with the state’s contractor, McCourt Construction. “We couldn’t have asked for a better team,” Hathaway says. “They work around our academic schedule, and they’ve been very cooperative during major University events, such as move-in weekend, Matriculation, and Commencement.”

When students return for fall semester, they’ll find flowering trees and decorative shrubbery in place of construction equipment along Commonwealth Avenue. As for the orange barrels — they’ll be only one street over. In September, a two-year utility improvement project begins on Bay State Road.