By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
City Councilors heard from representatives of the city’s public works department and National Grid Monday night, as they sought to understand a pair of winter time infrastructure projects that were begun shortly before Christmas.
Work on Linden Street, begun by public works in December and now wrapped up for the winter, was questioned by Councilors Rosa DiFlorio, Michael McLaughlin and Richard DellIsola, with Public Works Director Jerry Navarro and Director of Engineering Bill O’Rourke answering councilors’ questions.
According to Navarro, the Linden Street project was begun as an effort to widen the narrow street to allow for safer passage and traffic flow and was started at the beginning of the last summer. However, since the project required the cooperation of utility companies, which had to move their wires and services form the existing poles to new poles, the preparation for the project took longer than expected.
Navarro also took responsibility for the starting the work at the beginning of December, after utilities finally completed efforts to move services to new poles, because he “wanted to get the work done before the winter, in case we have another and winter like last year.”
In the end, Navarro said the city was able to get a portion of the work completed and then secured the street, so the rest of the work can take place in the spring.
Navarro assured the council the street and sidewalks, as they are now, are safe to last the remainder of the winter.
Following the discussion about Linden Street, the council also received a visit from Dan Cameron, National Grid’s liaison to Everett and project manager Matt Carmody, to discuss National Grid’s on-going nighttime gas line work on Ferry Street. They were also accompanied by O’Rourke.
According to Cameron and O’Rourke, the current gas line replacement project, which is taking place in the simultaneous phases along Ferry Street from the Malden line to Chelsea Street, grew out of the city’s planned reconstruction of Ferry Street, which is currently being designed and permitted, but should be ready to go out for construction bidding in approximately six months.
As part of planning the roadway reconstruction project, the city notified the utilities that it was planning to rebuild the roadway, and National Grid used that opportunity to assess its gas line infrastructure along Ferry Street and determined that it needed to be replaced, so they decided to design and structure a gas main replacement project that could be completed before the city begins work on the roadway.
However, as with the Linden Street project, National Grid began planning the project last summer and by the time they received the necessary city approvals and permits, it was mid- to late November.
Councilors McLaughlin, Dell Isola, DiFlorio and McKinnon all had questions for National Grid about the timing and scheduling of the project, but the councilors’ main concerns seemed to be about the work hours and the disruption caused to residents living near the project site along Ferry Street. The workhours are from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly and the work will continue into the spring.
Carmody, who has been managing the project for NGrid assured the council that the utility is trying to find ways to decrease the disruption to neighbors and is even adapting how it schedules work on a nightly basis, completing as much of the digging and other “noisy” work in the earlier part of the shift, so that work in the late hours won’t be as disruptive.
NGrid noted that it received its clearance to begin on November 18 and then spent two weeks notifying the neighborhood of the work that was about to start. The project is also being completed by three work crews working simultaneously, so that the work can be completed before the city needs to begin reconstructing the roadway.