“All the sins of Bridge Street, we’re trying to avoid,” Salem City Engineer David Knowlton said.
Even though the state plans to remake Canal Street, officials concede that it won’t fix the flooding problems. That will entail major construction to build a new pump station and water storage system and make other improvements estimated to cost $18 million. The city is investigating ways to fund that work, which likely is years away, Knowlton said.
But the roadwork is a start and will be a significant upgrade to a major entrance corridor, officials said.
“This is both exciting and daunting,” Mayor Kim Driscoll told an audience of about 50 residents and officials at The Enterprise Center at Salem State College. “Of all the entrance corridors, this one definitely is in the toughest shape.”
Several officials struck cautionary notes, hopeful this won’t be a repeat of Bridge Street, which was in an almost constant state of disrepair for two years before being finished this summer.
“We want this project to go much more smoothly ...” state Rep. John Keenan said.
Speaking on behalf of businesses, Rinus Oosthoek, executive director of the Salem Chamber of Commerce, stressed the importance of keeping traffic open during construction, which is expected to take 18 months. State officials said that is the plan.
The state also plans to improve traffic signals at both ends of the street, something residents said is needed.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.