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East Boston/Chelsea Bypass Road

Chelsea, MA


Class of Work: Highway/Construction


Location: East Boston, MA


Owner: Massachusetts Port Authority




Description and Scope of Work:

The intent of the project was to construct a roadway through an abandoned railroad right of way. The road was to stretch from Chelsea Street on the E. Boston waterfront, near the new Chelsea Street Bridge, to Frankfort Street on Massport property at Logan Airport. The objective was to provide an alternate route for commercial traffic to and from the airport, instead of forcing drivers to use the old route through Day Square, a notoriously tangled and heavily trafficked intersection in East Boston. The road was named the “Martin A. Coughlin Bypass Road”, in honor of a now deceased community activist who began petitioning for the roadway some forty years ago.


Constructing a modern roadway through an abandoned railroad right of way (ROW) involved combining our own abilities with several subcontracting partners. The 2,500 LF of ROW was cleared, grubbed, and excavated to subgrade.  All of the 25,000 CY of soil excavated on site had to be managed, stockpiled, tested and disposed of at the appropriate facilities.  In order to provide the room for the roadway, our team had to construct four retaining walls. Two mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls, totaling approximately 5,000 SF, were constructed as replacements for existing timber retaining walls. Project specifications required that we install of 5,000 SF of temporary soldier piles along with lagging to support the construction. The other two retaining walls, up to 18 FT high and stretching over 800 FT long, were constructed out of steel posts cast in 3 FT diameter caissons with precast concrete facing panels. The work was completed under a contractor-generated Value Engineering Change Proposal (or VECP), which saved the project nearly $700,000.00. We also installed an elaborate drainage system including 70 catch basins and manholes, 2,500 LF of drain pipe, a precast underground storage system, 3,500 LF of sub-drain, 950 LF of 12” force main and a 2,200 GPM pump station requiring a steel sheeted excavation 25 FT below grade. Other utilities included the installation of 31 light standards, 8 cameras, under slab lighting, and 22 electrical and communications manholes connected by nearly 6,000 FT of duct bank. The project was completed with 5,000 tons of bituminous concrete, 2,000 LF of curbing, 800 LF of concrete barrier, and 1,500 SY of cement concrete sidewalk. In addition, finishing touches were added through the installation of striping, signage, and traffic signals. The time extension and added contract value were due to the added scope that included installation of 1,800 LF of jet fuel line, which feeds Logan Airport, as well as modifications to the containment structures at the Sunoco Fuel Farm that were necessary to provide proper roadway alignment.

Project Start: August 2011


Project Completion: January 2013

Contract Amount: $15,000,000


Architect / Engineer:  Fay, Spofford, & Thorndike, LLC.

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