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Delays, detours expected near Main/Bridge Street project

Date: 3/9/2011

March 9, 2011

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD — Construction recommenced this week on the Main/Broad Street project, affecting the commutes of those who travel on sections of Routes 20 and 202 in the downtown area.

Drivers should expect delays and traffic re-routing in that area from approximately 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays throughout the spring and summer.

In a release announcing the start of work on March 7, Mayor Daniel Knapick said state contractor Lynch Construction was slated to begin with the removal of the former service station site, followed by pavement widening along the Main Street section of the project to accommodate the temporary re-routing of traffic. Full street reconstruction and utility work on the northern side of Main Street from Meadow to Elm Street are expected to be the final phase of the project.

"We know this last phase of construction is going to be tough because it's right in the heart of downtown," Lisa McMahon, executive director of the Westfield Business Improvement District (BID), said. "But our businesses are going to be open, we'll have lots of parking behind the businesses and we hope people will come down and support the businesses so they can get through this final stretch [of construction]."

She said many of the downtown businesses have been working hard to improve their appeal to shoppers during this disruption, adding that the BID has already had inquiries from "businesses looking to come in and occupy some of the empty store fronts, and that's great, too"

City Engineer Mark Cressotti said the good news for drivers is that Lynch Construction is on target to complete the project before the original projected date of June 2012.

"The contractor has indicated he will be substantially complete by the end of the construction season for the year, which is in November," Cressotti said, adding that Lynch may need to return to the site for some "residual work in the spring of 2012."

Cressotti said that his department will be meeting weekly with Lynch and all subcontractors on the project, such as the gas and telephone companies, and will be advising the police department regarding necessary changes to traffic patterns on a weekly basis.

Cressotti said residents would find updated information about the project on the home page of the city's Web site, He also indicated that Ward Two City Councilor James Brown would be keeping his constituents apprised of the project's progress by e-mail updates. Brown said residents who are not receiving his updates may sign up by e-mailing a request to him at .

"The good news is people are going to be able to go over Noble Street onto East Silver and that will assist with going west or south of downtown," Brown said of the current traffic rerouting. "And [they can use] Meadow Street, which puts drivers in a position by the Green River Bridge project."

McMahon said she hoped residents would keep the end result of all the disruption in mind as they cope with another season of traffic woes.

"Every day [of construction] is one day close to it all being done and us having a beautiful downtown," she said.


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