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Mass Highway to complete final phase of resurfacing project

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD The end of this year's construction season will mark the completion of Mass Highway's four-year multi-million dollar resurfacing project throughout the city.

The final phase of the project, which includes Southampton and North Roads, has recently gone out to bid with an estimated price tag of $1.5 million. The completion of this project will mean that Mass Highway has resurfaced all roads under its jurisdiction in Westfield a financial undertaking that could not have been absorbed by the city itself, according to Mayor Michael Boulanger.

"It's a tremendous help. I can't tell you how appreciative we are," Boulanger told Reminder Publications.

He noted that due to challenging fiscal times, the city was forced to cut a vast majority of expenses for infrastructure repairs from the fiscal year 2009 budget. Boulanger added, however, that he will be meeting with the Ward City Councilors in order to prioritize this year's repaving projects with the use of Chapter 90 monies.

Massachusetts Highway Department Commissioner Luisa Paiewonsky explained that Westfield's infrastructure has been a priority for Mass Highway because the roads are so heavily traveled.

"I am very pleased Mass Highway has made this project a priority," State Sen. Michael Knapik said. "Southampton Road and North Road are heavily traveled and in dire need of repair."

Paiewonsky noted that Mass Highway has allocated $540 million for road and bridge improvement this year and that Westfield's road resurfacing has cost $2.5 million over the past four years.

She explained that the repaving project has included the resurfacing of a section of Route 20 from the West Springfield town line to Union Street in 2006 and another section of Route 20 from Congress Street to the Russell town line.

The project, however, excludes small sections at the Summit Lock Road intersection and the North Road intersection, which will be resurfaced and realigned as part of the proposed Target Distribution Center.

Boulanger explained that although Target Corp. is "reassessing their timetable" for construction of the 1.7 million-square-foot facility due to the downturn in the economy, the city does have a signed development agreement. He added, "The project is not dead, it's just slowed down."

Contract proposals for the final phase of the Mass Highway repaving project are due on Aug. 28, with a project completion date of the end of the construction season.