PEABODY — The city’s $36 million water infrastructure project includes new water mains from Lynn Street to Summit Street. But first, National Grid will install gas mains in the South School neighborhood.
On Tuesday, officials held a neighborhood meeting at the school on Maple Street Extension to update neighbors on the work.
The project involves the installation of 2,000 linear feet of new water main from Lynn Street, then northwest up Brown Street, then a short jog west to Maple Street, then north up Norfolk Avenue to Lynnfield Street. From there, the main will head north along Summit Street to the area of Capone’s Restaurant and Lounge.
The intersection of Brown and Maple streets is adjacent to the South School.
While the roads are dug up, Department of Public Services Director Robert Labossiere said National Grid will replace underground gas mains. The gas mains will be replaced first, this winter. The water main work will begin in the spring.
On Wednesday, Labossiere said neighbors at the meeting were glad the project was getting underway but wanted to know what precautions would be taken during the work. Labossiere said no open trenches or steel plates will be left in the road — trenches will be filled in as the work progresses.
Mayor Ted Bettencourt said it only makes sense for National Grid to piggyback on the city’s water main work.
As for the disruption by the South School, Bettencourt said school officials, including Principal Mark Higgins, have been involved in project planning to help determine when the work should begin and end each day. Bettencourt said officials might ask National Grid to start work a little earlier in the day so they wrap up by 2:30 p.m., in time for afternoon pickup.
Bettencourt said under the first phase of the water infrastructure project, which involves the city investing in its resources instead of buying expensive water from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, a mile of 12-inch diameter ductile iron water main will be installed along Route 1. This work is meant to improve water service to homes and businesses along the corridor.
The second phase involves the installation of five miles of water transmission main to create a link from the Coolidge Avenue water treatment plant to West Peabody. The city will also get a new water booster pumping station near Peabody High to improve water pressure in the western part of the city. City streets dug up due to this work will be repaved next year, Bettencourt said.
While the work abuts the ward he represents, Ward 1 City Councilor Jon Turco said he attended part of the meeting, and he liked that National Grid would try to minimize disruption to school pickup and drop-off times.
“Yes, it will be a major inconvenience for the school and the ward for a few weeks, but it has been well-planned and well thought-out,” he said.
Lowell Street update
In a recent post on the city’s website, Bettencourt noted that National Grid had missed its May 31 deadline to complete its gas main upgrade along a stretch of Lowell Street starting near City Hall and running just past the intersection of King and Endicott streets. He noted the work has caused heavier traffic on Lowell Street during peak commute times.
Labossiere said the Lowell Street work is almost done save for a couple more connections. He and Bettencourt said crews ran into more concrete and piping in the road than they expected.
The delay means the city won’t be able to repave portions of Lowell, Kosciusko and Crowninshield streets until the spring.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @TannerSalemNews.