Massachusetts Avenue project goes out to bid

State Department of Transportation officials have put the Massachusetts Avenue reconstruction project out to bid, and are expecting work to begin next year. The agency set Jan. 22 as the deadline for bids to complete the estimated $5.4 million project along a 1-mile stretch of the four-lane commuter artery in East Arlington. Department spokesman Mike Verseckes said Monday that the work is expected to begin by next summer, and will likely take two years to complete. The design calls for reducing the motor vehicle lanes, primarily on the westbound side of the avenue, in order to install bicycle lanes on both sides of the roadway, and completing sidewalk and pedestrian-crossing improvements. The project has drawn fierce opposition from some residents, including members of the East Arlington Concerned Citizens Committee, which collected enough signatures to have a nonbinding question placed on the ballot in April asking whether voters preferred keeping the four vehicular lanes. The tally was 51 to 49 percent in favor of having four traffic lanes, but the Board of Selectmen opted to proceed with the project as designed. Federal funding is expected to cover 80 percent of the project’s cost, with the state covering the remaining amount.