The first phase of the project, which brought $5.9 million in upgrades to the utilities below the roadway between Jefferson Avenue and Mill Street, ended earlier this year.
The second phase is expected to cost about $8 million and will add signage, striping, trees and pedestrian crossings — and make it even again.
Officials have recently voiced frustration that the state has been vague about when work on the second phase would begin, especially since Canal Street is near the future site of an 800-vehicle garage that Salem State University plans to build. No location has been chosen yet for the garage, but all possible sites are in the vicinity of Canal Street, and supplies would likely be ferried in via that route.
At this point, the state plans to put the work for the second phase out to bid this summer, with work beginning in the fall — as previously planned — or later, in spring 2015. The work is expected to last about 18 months, and the public will get a chance to review the plans before it begins.
The second phase of the project was initially expected to be done by the end of 2015.
The project is expected to have a third phase, which would provide century-long flood protection for the Canal Street/Salem State University corridor.
Neil H. Dempsey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.