Archive for Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Downtown waterline project on schedule despite rain, city says

May 23, 2007

Advertisement

Sherry Fitzgerald advertises her downtown shop Beyond the Door as a laid-back hippie store.

Jay Squires, right, with Nowak Construction in Goddard, works in a hole below street level while others work on the downtown waterline replacement project. The company is embarking on the city's third summer of waterline replacement work in the central business district. On Tuesday the crews were working on the east side of the 1000 block of Massachusetts Street.

Jay Squires, right, with Nowak Construction in Goddard, works in a hole below street level while others work on the downtown waterline replacement project. The company is embarking on the city's third summer of waterline replacement work in the central business district. On Tuesday the crews were working on the east side of the 1000 block of Massachusetts Street.

But as construction crews have descended upon the 900 and 1000 blocks of Massachusetts Street to replace a century-old waterline, business has become a little too laid back - even for Fitzgerald's admittedly beach-bum style.

"In all honesty, I went home and took a nap today because it was so slow," Fitzgerald said.

She hopes business gets better because the construction crews that are outside her door aren't going anywhere anytime soon. The crews, for a third consecutive summer, are disrupting traffic, as well as parking, in parts of downtown.

The current batch of construction work has closed all parking on the east side of Massachusetts Street from Ninth to 11th streets. It also has closed a two-block stretch of street to northbound traffic. Southbound traffic is unaffected.

This phase of the construction project is expected to last until July 12, when crews will switch to the other side of the street. At that point, parking on the west side of Massachusetts Street will be closed in the two-block area, and southbound traffic will be prohibited.

The entire project is expected to be completed by Sept. 7. Crews will break for the annual Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale on July 19.

Philip Ciesielski, an engineer with the city's Utilities Department, said the project is on schedule.

"We've had quite a bit of rain, but they were still able to figure out how to work around that and work full days most of the time," Ciesielski said of Nowak Construction crews.

Other shop owners in the 900 block of Massachusetts Street were being optimistic about how they would fare during the construction project.

Jim Bateman, an owner of the Yarn Barn, said he thought having the city-owned parking garage directly east of the 900 block of Massachusetts Street would provide shoppers with a convenient parking option. Most businesses have rear entrances near the garage.

The city this summer also is waiving parking fees for the roof level of the parking garage to encourage people to park there.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.