METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – An overhaul of a section of East Main Street that city officials say has long needed an upgrade is on track to be completed this spring.
The city received a $2.7 million MassWorks grant in fall 2015 to reconstruct a section of East Main Street from Main Street to Parmenter Square. The work includes repaving, replacing water lines and installing new sidewalks and bike lanes. A walkway to Spring Hill Cemetery will also be constructed.
Work began this summer and crews have installed a new water main and are working to connect homes and businesses. Crews have also conducted sewer and drainage work in recent weeks, said Tom DiPersio, city engineer.
“That’s the end of all the utility work,” he said. “We’re glad we’ve passed that part.”
Construction crews are replacing a crumbling retaining wall on the road. DiPersio expects that work will be completed in the next few weeks.
“That’s another big milestone,” he said.
The city closed a section of the sidewalk because the retaining wall was deteriorating, said DiPersio.
The westbound lane of East Main Street has been closed the past few weeks while crews worked on the retaining wall. Traffic has been detoured down Lincoln Street and onto Bolton Street.
Workers will repave the road and install new sidewalks and bike lanes. DiPersio expects those tasks will be completed before the end of the fall.
In the spring, crews will repave areas near the intersections of East Main Street and Lincoln Street and East Main Street and Main Street. The walkway to the cemetery will be built at that time, said DiPersio.
The total cost is $3.2 million. The city is using $600,000 in Chapter 90 state roadway money to offset the cost.
DiPersio and other city officials called the East Main Street facelift much needed and hope it will improve business in that area and attract more mixed-use developments and residents to the city center.
City officials in late 2014 approved a new downtown zoning district that encourages mixed-use projects with retail space on lower floors and housing on upper floors. The zoning change eases requirements on parking and building dimensions for developers, who in turn have to comply with more stringent design standards.
The grant for the East Main Street work was awarded through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, which is intended to be a “one-stop shop for municipalities and other eligible entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support economic development and job creation,” according to the state’s website.
This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.