scorecardresearch Skip to main content
Get Smart

A history of the Green Line extension to Somerville

The Green Line project calls for service to extend north from Lechmere, the current terminus.Barry Chin/Globe Staff/File/Globe Staff

News that the MBTA had terminated its contract with the engineering firm overseeing the construction of the Green Line extension project represented the latest step in its decades-long history.

As with any subway, the path for the $2.3 billion project has been paved with starts, stops, and turns. Overall, it’s been a bumpy ride.

To get you up to speed, here’s a look back at some key events during the project, which would feature six new stops and is scheduled for completion in 2021.

■   1990 State officials announced a large-scale mass-transit plan for Boston 2020 that included extending the Green Line from Lechmere, in Cambridge, to West Medford. The estimated cost at the time was $600 million. Some additional projects included extending the Blue Line and relocating freight yards at Allston Landing.


■   2005 The Conservation Law Foundation, a legal advocacy group, sued the Commonwealth for stalling the projects, but settled last year when the government agreed to a set of deadlines for each project. The Green Line project’s deadline was set for 2014.

■   August 2007 State officials postponed the Green Line extension for another two years to seek federal funding. Governor Deval Patrick and other officials said this funding could save taxpayers roughly $300 million, and was therefore worth the wait.

■   2011 The extension was delayed an additional three years, with service to Somerville and Medford expected to begin during the fall of 2018 at the earliest or 2020 at the latest. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said the state needed more time for transportation planners to obtain the parcels of land and environmental permits before it could outsource design and construction efforts.

■   December 2012 Construction began in Somerville, which included reconstructing the Harvard Street Bridge in Medford and the Medford Street Bridge in Somerville. Patrick said this specific project would be finished whether or not it received federal funding.


■   August 2015 MBTA officials announced that, in addition to the Green Line extension’s then-$1.99 billion price tag, they could need an additional $700 million to $1 billion to finish the project.

■  December 2015 The MBTA announced that it would cancel contracts with four firms working on the extension and that it would begin searching for a new manager to oversee the project. They moved all employees working on this project at the time to other assignments.

■   November 2016 The T appointed John Dalton to be the new manager of the now $2.3 billion project.

■   December 2016 The opening of the Green Line’s new stations was pushed back to 2021.

Sophia Eppolito can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SophiaEppolito.