SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 22, 2012

Waterfront walkway plan rekindled

Public hearing in Beverly tomorrow

BEVERLY — A long-awaited plan to build a walkway under the Beverly-Salem bridge is being revived.

The state has filed a “notice of intent” with the city to construct a public walkway around the bend on the waterfront in the shadow of the bridge.

Local officials said the state was required to build the walkway as part of the construction of the bridge 15 years ago but has yet to follow through.

“It’s the last piece of undone business from the construction of the bridge,” Ward 2 City Councilor Wes Slate said.

The Beverly Conservation Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the plan tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Beverly Public Library.

The walkway project is the responsibility of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s highway division. A spokesman for the agency could not provide information on the cost of the project or when it might begin.

The concrete walkway would extend from the city’s commercial marina on one side of the bridge to Rowand’s Seafood Market on the other.

Slate said the walkway is not a huge project, but it would be another step in the slow process of revitalizing the waterfront.

The city’s recreational marina recently received a major upgrade with the help of a $2.5 million state grant. Work is set to begin soon on the city’s commercial marina, which is used by lobstermen and fishermen, with the help of another grant of nearly $1.4 million from the state’s Seaport Advisory Council.

There are also plans for a Black Cow restaurant to be built on the city-owned McDonald’s land.

That project has been held up in court for years because of a neighbor’s objections.

Slate said the walkway “will kind of provide the last link between the lower end of Congress Street and the waterfront. It gives a clearly defined and safer path to the waterfront from that area.

“The more obvious access we can make for people, the better.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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