By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — The MBTA offered a contract to a Milford-based company this week to oversee the construction of Salem’s new train station and parking garage.
Consigli Construction Company will be paid up to $32.5 million and will be in charge of subcontracting with builders to complete the project.
This was the final go-ahead on a project that’s been decades in the making.
“This has been a project that people have been talking about here and at the T for 20 years,” said Lynn Duncan, director of Salem’s Department of Planning and Community Development. “(It’s had) many starts and stops. This time the project is real and moving forward.”
The MBTA is designing a 714-space parking garage as part of an upgrade to the station at the intersection of Washington and Bridge streets.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s board of directors voted unanimously to approve the contract with Consigli on Wednesday. Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and state Rep. John Keenan, D-Salem, were at Wednesday’s meeting.
Yesterday, Driscoll called the contract “great news” and “another big step forward.”
Driscoll said Consigli will be good to work with, especially as the city deals with the impacts of construction.
“(Consigli) brings a great deal of experience working in urban settings,” said Driscoll. “... I’m very pleased that Secretary (of Transportation, Richard) Davey and the Mass DOT team have put so much confidence in the project.”
Consigli is headquartered in Milford and has offices in Williamstown; Portland, Maine; and Hartford, Conn. The company’s portfolio includes corporate, government, public and private school projects, museums and historic restoration — everything from putting an addition onto the Cambridge Public Library to building the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport.
With the contract awarded, site work should start in the spring and the project is slated to be finished by September 2014, said Ed Hunter, the MBTA’s assistant general manager for design and construction.
The “drop dead” finish date is Oct. 1, said Hunter, with an aim to be done before Salem’s Halloween festivities.
Consigli will be involved as the project’s design is finalized. Site work, such as excavation, soil improvement and utility work, will begin this spring, said Hunter.
Duncan and Driscoll both said the city plans to have a new parking lot ready at the former Universal Steel property on Bridge Street as construction begins at the MBTA station.
“All the pieces are coming together,” said Duncan.
The MBTA has already begun archaeological fieldwork that is part of the required environmental permitting for the new garage. This is expected to be finished in the next couple of weeks, Hunter said.
Throughout the planning process, the city leaders — and residents who come to public meetings on the project — have been very supportive, said Hunter.
“From our perspective, it’s been great,” Hunter said. “We really appreciate all the help that the city of Salem has given us.”
The MBTA is planning to build a five-story parking garage to replace the current surface lot, which holds 344 cars.
The new station will have a “high-level” platform, which will allow riders to walk onto the trains without going up steps. It also will have a covered pedestrian walkway from Bridge Street, and commuters will see upgrades to seating, lighting, signage systems and landscaping.
For full details on the project, go to www.mbta.com (click on “about the MBTA,” then “T projects” and scroll down to the Salem station link).
Bethany Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.