Work winds down as sidewalks fall short

As the construction season draws to a close, workers have poured about a half mile of new sidewalk on the northwest stretch of Mass. Ave. in East Arlington.

Cement trucks mix things up at Adams St. on October 28.

At the same time, sewer and utilities work sometimes narrowed Mass. Ave. to a single lane in each direction. Many trees were removed, and there was some night work.

The job so far gives a taste of what is in store for the rest of East Arlington when work resumes next spring.

Sidewalk work has advanced almost as far east as Grafton Street from the project’s northeast corner, across from Pond Lane. The construction team had hoped to reach Winter Street before knocking off for the year.

Despite initial assurances that work would proceed block by block, with each block under intense construction for about a week, contractor J.H. Lynch worked in larger segments, which were under construction for 3 weeks and more.

The work comprised

  1. Demolition and removal of old sidewalks
  2. Removal of granite curbs
  3. Replacement of curbs, often with original curbs
  4. Grading of sidewalk areas.
  5. Pouring of sidewalk segments, skipping every other one
  6. Filling in skipped segments
  7. Pouring of new driveways.

Except while concrete was setting, the sidewalks were open for business, at least for the able bodied. But it could be rough going, especially in the rain.

Water hazard at Everett Street on October 23. View is SE.

Water hazard at Everett Street on October 23. View is SE.

One benefit of curb extensions such as this one at Wyman St. (looking north): Westbound vehicles turning onto sude streets must slow more t=before they enter

One benefit of curb extensions such as this one at Wyman St.: Right turning vehicles are forced to slow before entering side streets.

As a result of this work, we also saw bump-outs and other curb extensions take shape. The bump-outs are well within the parking lane, which ranges from 8½–10 feet wide.

Some of these areas, and also some of the short segments of sidewalk on cross streets, remain unfinished as of November 23.

Utility work, chiefly relocation of hydrants and storm sewers, picked up in November as the sidewalk work slowed down.

New and old hydrants stand sentry duty in front of the Trinity Baptist Church in East Arlington.

New and old hydrants stand sentry duty in front of the Trinity Baptist Church.


November utilities work reached as far east as Henderson Street.

There was at least one stint of night work near Flora’s, taking some residents by surprise though immediate abutters were notified.

Around the end of October, a work crew removed many trees, leaving only the protected trees behind. Replacement trees will be planted in the final landscaping phase in 2016, but it will be  years before the new trees fill out to the same extent as the ones they will replace.

There’s more night work planned for this week. The last day of work until the spring will depend on the weather.

The project team’s commitment to a small construction footprint, made at a meeting last June, has only partially been met.

In particular, changes to the schedule for sidewalk work have exposed residents and businesses to torn-up sidewalks for 3 weeks and more, not the promised 1.

Mass Highway should consider reverting back to its original 1-week plan when it is in the heart of the business district next year.

Wet passage at Bates Road on October 23.

Wet passage through the construction zone at Bates Road on October 23.

Click here for recent construction news.


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