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Quinsigamond Ave: work on WRTA garage site progresses

By Lorraine Michele Laurie

In keeping with his promise to inform the neighborhood, Stephen F. O’Neil, Administrator of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority, held a community meeting on Thursday, September 25 to discuss the progress of site work at 42 Quinsigamond Ave., future home of the WRTA Maintenance and Operations Facility.

The informational meeting was the fifth held in the neighborhood and was hosted by the Green Island Neighborhood Center in Crompton Park assisted by the Green Island Residents Group, Inc.
Accompanying Mr. O’Neil were members of the “Team” –  Thomas Coyne, Assistant Administrator of the WRTA, Neal DePasquale of STV Inc., the Architect, and Steve Eustis of SKANSKA USA Building Inc., the Construction Manager who reported on progress over the past three or four months.

Mr. Eustis said that remediation work will take place for four or five months.  They will go down to bedrock and break up the concrete that is still at the location of the former tanks.  They have even discovered “rooms” in the foundations of the tanks.

Because of the nature of the soil, the building will be erected on 350 piles. Foundation work should begin in February.  In December, they will make test pits for the piles and there will be banging to do so.
Mr. DePasquale reported that there are five or six kinds of soil at the site and the bulk of it is clean.  The contaminated soil will be taken out by the Providence and Worcester Railroad to special out of state locations.  The soil removal will be according to DEP requirements and there will be air monitoring and catch basins will be covered.

Work will occur between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.  Monday – Friday.  Mr. Eustis said they are trying to avoid weekends.  In two or three weeks they will be able to move the sand. 

There will be a full–time presence on the site.  Christopher McDermott of TRC, Senior Project Manager- Remediation Practice will be in charge of this section of the project.

Mr. DePasquale said that they will follow the Better Management Program by using hay bales and washing the vehicles before they leave the site.  The WRTA has received the O.K. from the Conservation Commission, the ZBA, the Planning Board and the building permit to start the foundation work.  They have followed the orders of conditions.

Mr. DePasquale went on to explain that the piles will be 80 feet. They have done three explorative probes. There have been several changes to the plans because of economic reasons but the 50 seat community room with toilet facilities and the parking layout will remain as planned.

When asked by one of the attendees about the flooding issue, Mr. DePasquale explained that the 100 year flood zone runs through the site.  The new building will be raised four or five feet above the floodplain.

There will be an alternative route for the buses in case of flooding by way of Lafayette Street.

Also, the City and State are working to try to address the flooding issue in Green Island.  The building itself will not contribute to the flooding.  Water will be collected off the roof and be diverted into an underground retention system. The water will be released when the flood waters dissipate.

In addition to reclamation of a brownfield site and the construction of a new building that will bring jobs to the neighborhood, some sidewalk improvements will also be made.  The sidewalk on the east side of Quinsigamond Ave. at Endicott Street will be made ADA compliant with curbs and handicapped ramp.  On the westside of Quinsigamond Ave. where the new facility will be located, the City sidewalk will be fixed and maintained. 

Bordering the sidewalk will be low shrubs that are drought resistant.  The building itself will be fully secured and have cameras.

There will be a topping off ceremony at the beginning of the year and completion date of the WRTA Maintenance and Operations Facility will be in the spring of 2016.