Residents’ Questions Answered at Forum on Center Reconstruction

The long-overdue work to replace an aging and decaying infrastructure in the Winthrop Center Business District will cause disruptions for the next year and half for both businesses and residents.  That was the message that both town officials and the contractors told more than 30 residents who attended a public hearing last Thursday night  at the Robert DeLeo Senior Center.

“We are here tonight to go through the timeline and to get the impacts out there.  We are listening to you and we want to know when issues come up,” Town Manager Austin Faison told the crowd.

The project will replace the failing sewer and water mains, as well as the sidewalks, roadways, and streetscapes. The sidewalks will be worked on one side at a time so that pedestrians will always be able to access a finished sidewalk. The scope of the project will require streets in the Center at different times to be closed during certain times of the day in order for the contractor to put down new sewer pipes and paving. 

However, at the end of each workday, all the streets will be open to traffic. 

The project will be accomplished in nine phases with a starting date of April 6 and a final completion date in November, 2021.

Arthur Leventis, Project Manager from Woodard and Curran, an engineering firm outlined the work to be done in each phase by the contracting firm of P. Gioioso and Sons.

Phase 1

The first part of the multi-million dollar project will be the removal of French Square. Under the plan, the trees and grass will be removed and paved over for 24 temporary parking spaces. The work will take place from April 6 to 8.

Phase 2

Sewer, water, and drain improvements will be constructed on Pauline Street between Walden Street and Woodside Avenue and on Woodside Avenue between Pauline Street and Bartlett Road. Contaminated soil and groundwater are expected during construction of the infrastructure improvements on Pauline Street and Woodside Avenue. The staging area at the Larsen Rink will be utilized during this construction phase to manage soil. The work will take place from April 20 to June 16.

Phase 3

Storm drain improvements on Pauline Street (Woodside Avenue to Hagman Road), Hagman Road, French Square, and Jefferson Street (French Square to Putnam Street) will be constructed. Contaminated soil and groundwater are expected during construction on Pauline Street and Hagman Road. The staging area at the Larsen Rink will be utilized during this construction to manage soils. 

Hagman Road is also an area of environmental concern. An archaeologist will be on site monitoring construction as a precautionary measure. The work will take place from June 27 to July 14.

Phase 4

Sewer, water, and drain improvements will be constructed on Woodside Avenue (French Square to Pleasant Street), Adams Street, Williams Street and Bartlett Road (French Square to Pleasant Street). The work will take place July 15 to Sept. 10.

Phase 5

Sewer, water, and drain improvements will be constructed on Somerset Avenue (Woodside Avenue to Pleasant Street) and Cottage Park Road (Somerset Avenue to Pleasant Street). The work will take place Sept. 11 to Nov. 13.

Phase 6

Sidewalk, landscaping, and electrical improvements will be constructed on Pauline Street (Walden Street to Woodside Avenue) and Woodside Avenue (Pauline Street to French Square). The work will take place from April 1 to May 10, 2021.

Phase 7

Sidewalk, landscaping, and electrical improvements will be constructed on Hagman Road, Putnam Street (Pauline Street to Jefferson Street), Jefferson Street (Putnam Street to French Square), and French Square. This phase does not include the reconstruction of French Square. The work will take place from May 11 to June 28, 2021.

Phase 8

Sidewalk, landscaping, and electrical improvements will be constructed on Woodside Avenue (French Square to Pleasant Street), Adams Street, and Bartlett Road (French Square to Pleasant Street). The work will take place June 29 to Aug. 3, 2021.

Phase 9

Sidewalk, landscaping, and electrical improvements will be constructed on Somerset Avenue (Woodside Avenue to Pleasant Street) and Cottage Park Road (Somerset Avenue to Pleasant Street). The work will take place Aug. 4 to Aug. 27, 2021.

Leventis mentioned that there will be noise and dust during the time period that the dirt is being removed by heavy trucks. The work will be performed Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  There will be no work on weekends or holidays.  He also mentioned that there will be temporary water hoses going into buildings during the construction. These hoses will be covered to avoid people tripping over them.  

A staging area is planned for both behind Larsen Rink for materials and an area to the side of the parking lot for management of what might be termed “contaminated soil.”  Leventis said the soil probably contains very small traces of fuels that have accumulated over the decades. 

The lot will be used only during the construction season that lasts from April to no later than December. There will also be police details on the job site to make sure that traffic problems are minimized.

The question of using the parking lot at Larsen Rink as a staging area was questioned by Councilor Jim Letterie.  “Why not use the parking lot at E.B. Newton School. Wouldn’t that be a better site?” he asked.  

Superintendent of Public Works Steve Calla said that they had looked into using the E.B. Newton parking lot on Walden St., but noted that the town had spent more than $90,000 only a few years ago to redo that lot, and that using the site as a staging and storage area could damage the surface and would mean the lot would have to redone. “The rink will only be affected for two months,” Calla said.

Jeanne Maggio questioned the paving-over of French Square and the destruction of the trees. “I moved to Winthrop more than 55 years ago and to me, French Square is the heart of Winthrop. There has not been a lot of conversation about the new design of French Square. We should at least find a way to save the area where trees are located,” she said. 

Calla said that he understood her concerns and noted that the project was started in 2013 and has evolved over the last seven years. The design of the Square was approved by the Council a few years back. As far as the trees, he noted that the birch tree is about 10 years old and to transplant the tree would cost more than $60,000, with no guarantee of it being successful, as it is in poor health condition.

Donna Segreti Reilly queried about the the possibility of rodents, who generally scurry to find a new home during an excavation project of this magnitude.

Marco Gioioso from Gioioso Constarctors agreed that they are expecting rodent migration, as is the case in any construction site.  He said that before they excavate, they will check for rodent activity and bait the area. If any residents or business owners see an increase in rodents, he said they should let him know. 

Faison closed the meeting saying, “Don’t stop asking questions, we want to know as much as possible, The time to answer is now.”

A timeline of the project is available at https://tinyurl.com/CBDProjecttimeline.

Project updates will be posted regularly at https://tinyurl.com/CBDinfrastructure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.