After months of site preparation and foundation work, the 700-space parking garage at the MBTA commuter rail station is starting to rise from the ground.
A giant crane arrived at the site yesterday to begin moving large, precast pieces of the garage into place.
"In the next six to 10 weeks, it's really going to take shape," said state Rep. John Keenan. "It's really exciting after all these years of planning and meetings to finally see the building going up."
The garage, which will have five levels, will more than double parking on the MBTA portion of the lot. The city maintains about 120 spaces in a separate section of the station property.
The commuter station project is on schedule and due to be completed by October, according to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo. Work began last summer.
"That was our commitment," he said, "to have it ready by Halloween festivities."
A public meeting to update residents on the project has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 17, at the Bentley Elementary School.
Originally budgeted at $37 million, the station costs have risen to $44.5 million, according to George Doherty, the project manager.
Additional funds have been used to pay for "ground improvements" required by new earthquake codes, Doherty said. The extra money also will add brick work on the exterior of the garage and a cover, or roof, on the pedestrian walkway that will extend from Bridge and Washington streets to the garage.
"We did some enhancements that the public requested and the mayor requested," Doherty said.
The new station will include a high-level platform that will allow commuters to walk directly onto the trains. The platform will be done in stages, Doherty said, to ensure it remains open to commuters during construction.
The deep foundations for the garage structure were completed over the past few months, along with utility work at Bridge Street.
The installation of smaller, precast sections began last week. The garage structure is expected to be completed by July.
The station has remained open since work began last July and will continue to be open during construction, Pesaturo said.
"There still are a lot of people using the station," he said.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2014 - The Salem News, Beverly, Mass.