HAVERHILL — The changes you'll see happening in these neighborhoods — new trees, sidewalks and streets surfaces — provide a nicer appearance for people living there.
But the finished product of the work you won't see is more important. It might save lives one day.
The city has begun a $10.3 million project to repave streets, resurface sidewalks and plant trees in the area of Lawrence Street and Kenoza Avenue.
The project will also involve underground work — the replacement of water pipes that are more than a century old. The pipes are so corroded that they provide poor water pressure to homes and fire hydrants, which could result in problems for firefighters responding to a blaze unless the pipes are replaced, Mayor James Fiorentini said.
The project began on Howard Street and will eventually include Kenoza Avenue, Lawrence Street and several side streets between Main Street and Lawrence Street, the mayor said. Work will continue through winter and is expected to wrap up in early 2021, city officials said.
Fiorentini said the city began planning the project a several years ago when fire officials reported they were having trouble getting adequate water pressure from hydrants in the area. The project will ultimately result in greatly improved water pressure and volume for homes, businesses and fire hydrants, the mayor said.
"We inspected the underground lines and found that many were more than 100 years old and were so corroded that they could not give adequate water pressure," Fiorentini said. "We decided to replace and upgrade the water line for the entire neighborhood, and to replace the sewer line, which we also found to be extremely old and unreliable, at the same time."
Streets and areas affected by the project include: Kenoza Avenue from Humphrey Street to Lawrence Street; Lawrence Street from Kenoza Avenue to Hamilton Avenue; Marshland Street, Columbia Park, Elm Street, Howard Street, Ashford Street, Taft Avenue, Dudley Street, Davis Place, Forest Avenue, Warren Street, Lincoln Street, Columbia Terrace and Columbia Place.
Residents of homes in the area have and will receive notices in advance of work that may affect their homes. The notices will include names and contact information for water and sewer project managers.
The work is being done in phases to minimize any disruptions of water and sewer service to residents. The project is expected to take 18 months.
Information about the work – including timelines, possible water and sewer disruptions, and the placement of temporary water bypass lines — has been shared with impacted residents via letters and community meetings. More information is also available at https://bit.ly/2XLZJnW.
The installation of above-ground, temporary water bypass lines is standard procedure whenever existing water mains are being replaced or serviced. Any water service interruption will be kept to a short time frame to minimize inconvenience to residents/customers.
The project is being managed by the city's water and wastewater departments N. Granese & Sons Inc. is performing the construction.