South Coast Rail Commuter Rail Extension Environmental Services

Southeastern Massachusetts

For the first time since the late 1950s, reliable transit service will connect Boston and Southeastern Massachusetts thanks to MassDOT and MBTA’s South Coast Rail project. VHB’s multi-disciplinary team has supported the development of this complex, $3.2 billion transportation project for more than two decades, with our environmental team advancing it through the permitting process to bring new stations from Boston to this underserved region of Massachusetts. In fact, we played a critical role with the environmental permitting strategy, obtaining both NEPA and MEPA clearances and all environmental permits required for construction.

As the project moved through design, our environmental team prepared environmental permitting applications under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, and the U.S. Clean Water Act. VHB led the Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act review process, which included extensive consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer, Native American tribes, municipalities, and other interested parties. We also developed a comprehensive approach to avoidance, minimization and mitigation for impacts to wetlands and other natural resources, including surveys for listed species, design of compensatory wetland areas, and specialized wildlife crossing structures. As the project has moved into construction, VHB is serving as the project Environmental Monitor to oversee the work and confirm contractor compliance with project permits.

Wetlands lie in the foreground of a stone railway bridge. Two men work alongside railway tracks. Autumn trees surround both sides of railway tracks coming into a station.


  • Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)

  • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)


  • Cultural Historic Survey

  • Construction Monitoring for Permit Compliance

  • Environmental Services

  • Historic Evaluation

  • NEPA Documentation and Analysis

  • Permitting

  • Threatened & Endangered Species Surveys