Train platform’s hidden costs explained
GREENFIELD — The state says $2 million is only an estimate at this point of how much it will cost to build an accessible train platform to the rear of the John W. Olver Regional Transportation Center on Olive Street.
Michael Verseckes, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, which is paying for the project, said the $2 million estimate is based on what the state thinks the costs will be for construction, labor and materials at the time the project is awarded, as well as on the design.
But, he said, the project will go through a competitive procurement process first, which will ultimately determine the true cost of construction — and that could be less than estimated.
Verseckes said the 200-foot-long platform will be accessed from both the street and from inside the center.
Kevin Benjamin, the designer of the platform and an architect with Stull and Lee Inc. of Boston, said a lot of the costs are in things people can’t see.
For instance, he said there will have to be a lot of work done to shore up and stabilize the railroad bridge to the rear of the center.
Benjamin said the foundation of the entire platform will go deep into the ground to hold it up.
He said the canopy, which will cover more than 80 feet of the platform, will include a wind screen, lighting, cameras, speakers, landscaping and a decorative railing, and he said raising the platform, which means it will be the same elevation as the train floor, will cost more than what was originally planned for a lower-level platform that would have forced riders to climb stairs onto the train.
Benjamin said part of the construction cost will also include some work that will be done to sidewalks, curbs and possibly the parking lot on the property. He said bike racks and benches will also be installed along the platform.
The state hopes to begin building the train platform sometime early this year and expects construction will be substantially completed by the end of the year.
This is all in preparation for Amtrak’s return to Greenfield early next year, after a more-than-30-year absence.
Verseckes said the money the state will use to build the platform will come mostly from a $75 million Federal Railroad Administration grant the state received, but the state will add some of its own money, because the federal grant only allows for construction of a low-level platform.