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Board approves funds for protected bike lanes on Comm. Ave.

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Bicyclists who use Commonwealth Avenue will benefit from the changes.
Bicyclists who use Commonwealth Avenue will benefit from the changes.David L. Ryan

Protected bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue are one step closer to reality, after the state transportation board approved the $20.4 million needed to rebuild a stretch of the busy thoroughfare that has proven to be perilous for cyclists.

The city of Boston announced in March of last year that it planned to replace existing bike lanes with protected bike lanes — known as cycle tracks — from the Boston University Bridge to Packard's Corner, near Brighton Avenue.

Cycle tracks use infrastructure — in this case, a lane of parked cars — to separate cyclists and drivers on the street. The move comes more than three years after a Boston University cyclist was fatally struck on the road.

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The project will also install new streetlights, widen sidewalks, and change sidewalks and ramps to be accessible for those with disabilities.

The state's transportation board on Monday approved a $17.6 million contract, which was about 17 percent over the project's budget, awarding the funds to one of only two bidders, Newport Construction. The $20.4 million budget includes contingency costs and other funds, such as traffic police to watch over the project's construction, according to Jacquelyn Goddard, a state transportation department spokeswoman.


Nicole Dungca can be reached at nicole.dungca@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ndungca.