SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 15, 2013

Salem gets $3M grant for Canal St.

SALEM — The city will receive $3 million in federal funds for the upcoming rebuild of Canal Street.

The grant, awarded yesterday by the Federal and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agencies, will go toward drainage improvements on Canal Street, which is prone to flooding, even to the point of becoming impassable.

Work is expected to begin in early June.

“I like to say they don’t call it Canal Street for nothing,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said yesterday, referring to the corridor’s tendency to flood. “... We’re very excited to have strong federal and state partnership to provide resources for this much-needed roadway improvement.”

The three-phase, $16 million project will rebuild Canal Street over the course of several years, starting with drainage and stormwater management. Later phases will improve and level the roadway, install new curbing, crosswalks and other “streetscape” elements.

“It’s one of those projects that we can’t afford to do, but we can’t afford not to do,” Driscoll said.

The city has gone out to bid for the first phase of the project and hopes to award a construction contract in the next few days, Driscoll said. The initial drainage work will stretch from Forest Avenue to Laurel Street.

City Councilor Josh Turiel said the city has already bonded $5.9 million to cover the first phase of the Canal Street project.

“(The $3 million grant) is great news for me, great news for everybody that lives in this area, great news for city and a credit to this administration,” said Turiel, who represents the Canal Street area. “... (The rebuild) is going to really help revitalize that whole section. It’s ultimately going to wind up being the next great commercial center in Salem, once this is all through.”

The $3 million grant was announced yesterday afternoon in a joint press release from Driscoll, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Congressman John Tierney, state Sen. Joan Lovely and state Rep. John Keenan.

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