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East Main Street construction likely to begin this summer

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – Construction is expected to begin sometime this summer on a section of East Main Street city officials say has long needed an upgrade.

In the fall, the city received a $2.7 million MassWorks grant to reconstruct a portion of East Main Street from Main Street to Parmenter Square. As part of the project, the road will be repaved, water lines will be replaced, a new retaining wall will be built and new sidewalks and bike lanes will be installed. A walkway to Spring Hill Cemetery will also be constructed.

City officials are in the midst of finalizing the design of the project with the goal of starting construction in the summer months, said City Engineer Evan Pilachowski.

“I expect us to finish the design and have the project ready to bid later this winter,” said Pilachowski. “Construction will begin this summer barring any unforeseen complications.”

A traffic plan for when construction begins will not be finalized until a contractor is hired in the coming months, said Pilachowski.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $3.2 million.

During the MassWorks grant award ceremony in the fall, city officials called the facelift of that section of East Main Street long overdue. They hope overhauling that portion of the road will improve the businesses in that area and attract more mixed-use developments, bringing residents downtown.

Last year, city officials approved a new downtown zoning district that encourages mixed-use projects with retail space on lower floors and housing on upper floors. The zoning changes ease requirements on parking and building dimensions for developers, who in turn have to comply with more stringent design standards.

The $2.7 million grant was awarded through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, which is intended to be a “one-stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support economic development and job creation,” according to the state’s website.

The city received a $1.6 million MassWorks grant in fall 2013 to reconstruct Simarano Drive. That project, which included repaving the road, widening a section of the road and adding sidewalks and bike lanes, was recently completed.

This article originally appeared here.