We have important updates about the Thorndike Street project, the Streets F & G project, and the new Parking Garage project in an around the Hamilton Canal Innovation District. Read on to keep up to speed, and please feel free to email us with any questions.
Thorndike Street: Expect Delays!
The Thorndike Street project is getting closer to completion! Curb and sidewalk construction is starting today. This work requires closing one lane of traffic on Thorndike Street from Highland Street to the Gallagher Terminal driveway. The lane will be closed from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm each day. This may result in delays during rush hour, so please be prepared or seek alternate routes. The contractor hopes to have this work completed before the end of August.
Hamilton Canal Innovation District Progresses
The work crew at the Hamilton Canal Innovation District has already begun utility work in the driveway to Lowell National Historical Park and the Canal Place parking lot. Please tell your neighbors and coworkers to be cautious if entering or exiting during work hours, from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.
There is also a great deal of work happening behind the fences! Last week, the contractor began pouring concrete into the wooden forms to create the abutments for the Signature Bridge. The contractors are also preparing the ground for a retaining wall near the existing pedestrian bridge, across the canal from the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub. At the end of the project, the entire site will be raised by several feet, roughly level with the Appleton Mills courtyard.
Parking Garage Advertised to Bid Next Week
Finally, the City of Lowell staff has been hard at work reviewing the qualifications of potential contractors for the Hamilton Canal Innovation District garage project. The City will advertise the garage project for contractors to bid next week, meaning you can expect construction to start around October. As this project progresses, access to and in the Lowell National Historical Park parking lot will change, and we will share that information as it develops.
HCID Sewer Pump Station
Over the last couple of weeks, you might have seen a very large structure being installed underground on the site. This is the "well" for the sewer pump station. The contractor used a crane to lower three sections of a large concrete box into the ground. A pump will later be installed in the box. This pump will push the wastewater from all the buildings in the area over the bridge to Dutton Street's sewer line. Storm water from the streets will go into a separate drain system to be treated on site and released, clean, into the canal.
Please be advised to walk with care over the bridge over the Merrimack Canal and stay within the delineated pedestrian detours (on the outside of the traffic cones and barrels). Demolition on the bridge and between the parking lots is expected to commence very soon, and trucks and crews will be in the area.
Thorndike Street Widening
The Thorndike Street contractor is making steady progress for a completion in or around September. They have added asphalt to widen the street and intersection and are installing conduit for all-new street lamps and traffic signals. They anticipate putting in new curbs and sidewalks this week, then repaving the entire area in the following week, which may require lanes to be closed during the day. We appreciate your patience for any delays this creates.
Thorndike Street Night Work Ends
Regular night work ended on Thorndike Street on June 15. Once the contractor is done installing the final utility conduits, it will begin installing new traffic signals at the intersections of Thorndike and the LRTA driveway, Thorndike and YMCA Drive, and Thorndike and Highland Street. Looking ahead, there may be intermittent night paving in mid-July.
Work is also progressing on the adjacent Thorndike Exchange building, occasionally resulting in lane closures on Thorndike. We will try to give advance notice of lane closures when possible, but please expect occasional delays in the area and continue to drive carefully.
Signature Bridge Footers Being Formed
Over in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District, the contractor has made great progress on the Signature Bridge. We want to share these photos of the wooden forms being built, then concrete being poured into the forms with the steel rebar to reinforce the concrete. These concrete structures will eventually hold the Signature Bridge!
Bridge Sidewalk Demolition
Looking ahead, the contractor expects to begin activities on top of the bridge into the NPS Parking area from Dutton Street in one to two weeks (late June). They will be removing curbing and the sidewalk, as the sidewalk will be replaced by two pedestrian bridges on each side of the existing bridge. The bridge itself will remain and eventually be repaved. When demolition commences, two narrow lanes of traffic and a narrow walking path will be maintained at all times, but please maintain caution when work commences.
Pulverizing Asphalt Driveways
In two to three weeks (early July), the contractor will “pulverize” the asphalt driveway between the NPS Parking Lots. After this, the driveway will be similar to gravel. This is so that they can access and replace the utilities underneath the driveway easily. Please exercise caution when driving on the pulverized driveways.
The Thorndike Street Improvements project is moving into the next stage of construction and we have an update on the Hamilton Canal Innovation District construction work!
Asphalt Patches in Place on Thorndike Street
We know that some have been having difficulty crossing the gravel patches on Thorndike Street. The catch basin work happening in those areas has been completed and patched with asphalt. However, please continue to exercise caution as you drive through the area between Highland Street and the driveway of the Gallagher Terminal. There may still be loose gravel.
Next Week: Mast Arms at Highland Street
There will be some daytime work on Thorndike Street beginning as early as next Monday, May 21. The contractor will install the new mast arms that will hold up traffic signals at Highland Street. A police detail will be provided. The contractor does not expect significant traffic impacts from this work.
Sewer Installation Begins at the Hamilton Canal Innovation District
Over at the Hamilton Canal Innovation District, the contractor is waiting for all utilities to be relocated away from the new sidewalk bridges that will be installed at the bridge over the Merrimack Canal into the district. In the meantime, they are busy with installing the sewer in district! If you walk past the construction site, you’ll see the large sewer pipes and manholes that will be installed over the coming days. The contractor has been given permission to work through Memorial Day to stay on schedule.
Now that the weather's warming up, construction is moving in full swing on Hamilton Canal Innovation District Phase II and the Thorndike Street Widening. We have many updates to share with you!
Thorndike Street Widening Project
Last month, the project to add an additional lane to Thorndike between the Lord Overpass and the Lowell Connector began. This additional lane will be for dedicated left turns and will tie into future projects at the Overpass and at the Connector on-ramps. Drivers should anticipate lane closures during the night work hours between 9 pm and 5 am, but we do not anticipate any necessary detours. A police detail is always provided.
The second pedestrian detour has been installed. This is a temporary ADA-compliant path around bridge abutment work. This detour will be in place until after the new sidewalks on both sides of the existing bridge are installed. Please follow the signs and use caution as you walk through the area.
In this same area, you may see steel beams crossing the canals. These are temporary utility supports that will be removed after those sidewalks are completed and the utilities are moved under the new sidewalks.
You may notice a line of beams coming out of the ground roughly parallel with the future signature bridge. These are called soldier piles, and will support a retaining wall that will hold the earth and future street at the surface level when we excavate for the future garage's basement. This work means the project is closer to installing the new bridge.
Lots to Like About Lowell Signs
Finally, we've decorated the construction fencing near the Lowell National Historical Park parking lot with banners about the project and about downtown attractions. We hope visitors to Lowell will enjoy the banners, learn about the project, and be inspired to visit Lowell's many restaurants and shops. Please let us know if you have any other ideas to promote Lowell's businesses this summer!
Let Us Know How We're Doing!
Please direct any comments or questions to HCID@lowellma.gov, or call (978) 674-1405 and the Department of Planning and Development staff will direct your concerns to the appropriate party. This also helps us keep track of feedback from the public, good and bad! Don't hesitate to call 911 immediately for any emergencies. Thank you for helping us be our best!
Pile Driving Delayed
March's multiple snow storms delayed pile driving, but the contractor now expects to begin today or next week. This is an exciting phase of the project, because it is the first step in constructing the footings for the Signature Bridge. Please don't be alarmed if there are loud noises. This should occur during work hours between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm throughout the next couple weeks.
Work at Broadway and Dutton
The contractor anticipates completing geotechnical work starting 9:00 am on Monday, 4/9/18. This involves setting up a drilling rig and taking soil samples to determine how the new signal mast arm must be anchored to the ground. The contractor expects the work to take less than four hours and involve closing a lane on either Broadway or Dutton, depending on what physical obstructions the drilling rig must maneuver around. A police detail will be on-site during the work.
Finally, an interesting item of note: the old penstocks that used to carry water from the canals and through the turbines prior to 1910, when mills still stood on the site, were scheduled to be filled last week. When the contractor dug a pit to determine the exact location of the penstocks, they discovered they had already been filled in, perhaps when the previous structure was built on the site in the 1950s. This reduced the cost of the project and is a great example of how even with careful research, we never know what is underground until we start digging.
If There Are Problems, Let Us Know!
As always, please email the Department of Planning and Development at HCID@lowellma.gov or call (978) 674-1405 with any questions or concerns. Don't hesitate to call 911 immediately for any emergencies.
The fencing is up on the Streets F&G project and the first pedestrian detour is in place! Pedestrians must now take the upper path (the left side of the following photo) to walk around the site. The work taking place on the site this week largely consists of earth work to prepare the site for utilities and roads. One other pedestrian detour is planned near the Broadway Street bridge. We anticipate this will be constructed sometime in the coming month.
Starting next week, neighbors to the project may hear some pile driving during the day. These piles will support the new signature bridge. The contractor is carefully monitoring the canal walls to ensure vibration or any other construction activity won't cause damage to the walls. This activity should only take place during working hours from 7 am to 4 pm.
Hamilton Canal Innovation District Garage
Design of the new City parking garage proposed for Parcel 14, near Canal Place 3, is ongoing and nearing completion. It is anticipated to contain between 920 and 980 spaces. The design should be completed in approximately one month to allow for the project to go out to bid and begin construction this summer.
See Something, Say Something
Finally, please alert us if you see any suspicious activity at or around the construction site! Between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, please call the Department of Planning and Development at (978) 674-4252, and the receptionist will direct your call as appropriate. Outside those hours, please call the police non-emergency line at (978) 937-3200. As always, call 911 immediately for any emergencies. Thank you for helping us keep the construction site and the neighborhood safe!
The Streets F&G Project is moving forward in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District! It will proceed throughout the year, Monday through Saturday, and is currently projected to be largely complete by the end of 2018. This project will improve the existing bridge and driveway into the NPS Parking Lot into a street, complete with sidewalks, streetlamps, trees, and utilities; it will build a brand-new Signature Bridge; and it will create two new streets with development-ready sites. Our contractor, Newport Construction, has been surveying the site over the last few weeks. Starting this week, neighbors and commuters will see the work commencing!
This week, Newport plans to erect construction fences around the site. After the fences are up, they will begin preparing to construct the footings and substructure of the Signature Bridge over the Pawtucket Canal. The approximate fenced area is shown in orange on the map. Please note: there will be work that takes place on driveways and roadways outside of the construction fence over the summer.
Because Newport will be improving the existing Broadway bridge into the site, the Canalway must be blocked prior to its crossing Broadway. Newport will construct a pedestrian detour complete with safety barriers, ADA-compliant ramps, and marked crosswalks around the construction area and outside the NPS Bus parking lot. The approximate route is shown in green on the map.
Finally, the NPS parking lot bay closest to Dutton Street will need to be closed for the remainder of the project to facilitate the bridge work. The impacted parking is represented in red on the map. We regret any inconvenience this will create.
We’ll keep you up to date on their progress in the coming weeks! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.