Boston-Area Bus Barn Goes from Brown to Green

The WRTA has opened a 150,000-square-foot, environmentally friendly industrial facility in Worcester, Mass.
The new WRTA facility in Worcester, Mass.

The new WRTA facility in Worcester, Mass.

Worcester, Mass.—The Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) has opened its new $84 million vehicle maintenance, storage and operations facility, STV of Douglassville, Pa., and New York, the facility’s designer, announced late last week. The 150,000-square-foot facility replaces, in a new location, the WRTA’s 1920s-era converted trolley barn, while substantially increasing the agency’s storage and maintenance space for its vehicle fleet.

STV provided a broad range of architectural and engineering design services for the facility, which incorporates such sustainable and environment-friendly features as high-efficiency mechanical and plumbing systems, stormwater-management systems, a system to reclaim water from vehicle washing, and provisions to enable the future installation of a photovoltaic system on the building’s roof.

The facility houses up to 75 buses, 30 vans and other non-revenue vehicles and encompasses maintenance, operations and administrative functions under one roof, consolidating the agency’s maintenance and operations services.

“This new facility provides the WRTA with a much more productive, efficient and safe environment in which to conduct its day-to-day maintenance and operations functions,” Neal DePasquale, STV project manager, said in a prepared statement. “The facility provides the agency the flexibility it needs to evolve and expand its bus vehicle fleet in the future to accommodate new types of bus vehicles, such as compressed–natural gas buses.”

The facility is in a floodplain, so STV designed subsurface detention/infiltration chambers, bioswales with compatible landscaping elements, hydrodynamic separators, and deep-sump catch basins to control the quality and quantity of stormwater runoff.

The 11-acre brownfield site had been the location of a gas manufacturing plant dating back to the 1880s and was badly contaminated with coal tar by-products and asbestos before being vacated and essentially abandoned by the late 1960s. The remediation and clean-up of the entire site included the design and installation of a gas vapor barrier and venting system, which was integrated with the building’s foundation and slab construction.

Founded more than 100 years ago, STV provides engineering, planning, architectural, environmental and construction management services for transportation systems, infrastructure, buildings, energy and other facilities and is 100 percent employee-owned.

Image courtesy of Mark Flannery Photography