Construction Alert for 5/15 - 5/17
We have a construction alert for Wednesday, 5/15, Thursday, 5/16, and Friday, 5/17. The bridge between Dutton Street and the NPS Parking Lot will be CLOSED from 7 am to 4 pm on Wednesday. It will close again starting at 4 pm on Thursday and remaining closed overnight until 7 am on Friday, at which time one lane will open, and police will guide traffic over the one lane bridge until 4 pm on Friday. The bridge is anticipated to be fully opened for the weekend.
At all other times, the bridge will be open, but be prepared to drive over metal plates.
There will be overnight work in the area of the bridge on Thursday night. This work will construct a new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant railroad crossing and replace the trolley track rails that cross Broadway.
While the bridge is closed, the Canal Place parking lot will remain accessible from Market Street and those using the NPS parking lot will be redirected to the Leo Roy garage. Thank you for your patience as we repair this railroad crossing.
We have important news about traffic impacts related to the Hamilton Canal Innovation District infrastructure project. In addition, we have exciting announcements about the Parking Garage and Lord Overpass.
Lane Closures at Broadway and Dutton
Daily, during working hours please expect delays at the intersection of Broadway and Dutton. Major utility work has started and will continue over the next month. This will usually result in one lane being closed. However, two-way traffic will be maintained at all times and lanes are expected to be re-opened each day by the 5:00pm rush hour, whenever possible. This utility work and final paving is expected to be completed in early May.
Parking Garage Milestone
The City is excited to announce Shawmut Design & Construction was selected to manage the HCID Parking Garage project. Already, the management company has developed an aggressive schedule, including site work such as earth moving and utility relocation that will start in the month of July or August.
Shawmut is also working closely with the City on alterations to the parking garage design that will make it more affordable. The largest changes will be the elimination of one underground level and making each level slightly shorter, in order to add an additional above ground level. The redesign's goal is to lose as few spaces as possible while staying as close to the form-based code requirements as possible and maintaining the high architectural quality of the original design.
Finalizing the Design of the Lord Overpass
Finally, VHB, Inc. is completing the final construction drawings for the Lord Overpass project. The concept was discussed and vetted by the community through 20 public meetings and the engineer has since been working on details such as locating the utilities and creating drawings for the retaining walls and railings. The City expects that the construction drawings will be complete in the next several weeks. The City hopes to advertise the project in May. Because of a lengthy contracting and mobilization process, construction would not begin until the fall, depending on weather conditions.
The contractor will be expected to provide a traffic management plan and the City will share those updates as soon as it has them.
The new Lord Overpass will have roughly the same vehicular capacity as the current junction but it will have new advantages of allowing right and left turns into the Hamilton Canal Innovation District at Jackson Street, dedicated bus/emergency vehicle lanes, easier and more comfortable pedestrian crossings into downtown, separated bike paths connected to the multi-use trail at South Common, and synchronized traffic signals.
New Pedestrian Bridge Work
You may have noticed a great deal of work being done on the Broadway Street bridge over the Merrimack Canal. This work includes the installation of two new pedestrian bridges that will become the new sidewalks from Dutton Street to the Hamilton Canal Innovation District. New safety curbs are being formed on the bridge itself, which will then be used to support a new bridge guardrail. As there are currently temporary jersey barriers reducing the width of the bridge until the work is complete, please drive and walk over the bridge with extreme caution.
Construction at Dutton and Broadway
The contractor is installing utility tie-ins at the intersection of Dutton Street and Broadway over the next week, so please drive through that area carefully. There may be intermittent, brief lane closures during the day. This will result in temporary asphalt patches in the intersection.
Additional work will be started in several weeks, resulting in longer lane closures. By the end of the project, the old traffic signal will be removed, a new signal will be activated, and the entire intersection will be repaved.
Hamilton Canal Innovation District Parking Garage Update
Some residents may know that the HCID Parking Garage was advertised for bid, but the project did not move forward because the bids received by the City were higher than anticipated. Afterward, the City learned one large reason for this is that the schedules of key contractors and suppliers are overbooked by construction projects in Greater Boston.
The City has since developed a different approach, advertising for a “Construction Manager at Risk.” This Construction Manager will work with the garage designer to find ways to save costs. The Construction Manager is also able to secure contractors for separate elements of the project at key times to better align with suppliers’ schedules. Finally, this new process allows portions of the construction work to be bid and constructed concurrently as the design is updated, so the City believes that the garage project’s schedule won’t significantly change.
Interested firms responded to the City’s Request for Proposals on 3/15/19, and selection of the winning proposal will occur following interviews by 3/29/19. Site work may begin as early as July, and the City will keep the public updated via this newsletter, public meetings, and other outreach.
Harvard “Renewing Renewal” Project Seeking Input
The City of Lowell and Harvard Graduate School of Design entered into a collaborative program to evaluate Lowell’s three urban renewal plans: the Acre, Jackson-Appleton-Middlesex (JAM), and Ayer’s City Industrial Park. Graduate students are soliciting public input, analyzing documentation, and doing additional research to understand where the plans were successful, how they fall short, and making recommendations on extending the plans, altering the plans, or pursuing completely new strategies in the areas. Of course, the Hamilton Canal Innovation District is within the JAM urban renewal area, and we’re looking forward to hearing the students’ recommendations.
The public is invited to attend a special workshop hosted by the students at LTC’s gallery, 246 Market Street, Tuesday, March 26, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. There will be free dinner, childcare, and interpretation in Khmer, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili.
Signature Bridge Update
In case you missed it, Lowell National Historical Park created a great video of the erection of the Signature Bridge that took place in December. Check it out here, and if you use Instagram, you can see more info at Lowell National Historical Park Instagram.
Happy December, everyone!
The steel for the Signature Bridge was delivered yesterday. Today (December 7), the contractor is assembling the steel for the bridge, and the crane will begin putting it in place on Monday.
As an important reminder, next week, any cars found parked in spaces on Canal Street that have their placards bagged with “no parking” will be towed. This is to give space for the crane to put the bridge in place. This will last from December 10 until the bridge is in place. Thank you for your understanding.
We have an update on the bridge installation. The bridge manufacturer has indicated that there will be another delay in Signature Bridge delivery. Bridge installation is now scheduled for Wednesday, December 5th, 2018.
We have a new bridge installation date this week to announce! We also look forward to the completion of the Thorndike Street improvement project.
New Signature Bridge Installation Date
U.S. Bridge sent us a firm Signature Bridge delivery date of Thursday, November 29, 2018 . The construction crew will begin to install it immediately after it is delivered. As a reminder, we plan to close several parking spots nearest the bridge area during its estimated week-long installation. The following project illustration shows the approximate limit of restricted parking in orange.
Completion of Thorndike Street Widening
Earlier in November, the Thorndike Street Widening contractor put the final course of asphalt on the project, taking advantage of a warm and dry Sunday to quickly complete the paving. We apologize for any unavoidable traffic delays this created. The only steps left on the project are now painting new stripes on the road and fine-tuning the traffic signals.
Painting of stripes is anticipated to take between five and ten days, and will be completed during the day as weather allows (tentatively scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday this week). Because it is weather-dependent, it is difficult to give certain dates of painting. Please be prepared for delays on Thorndike Street when the weather is dry over the next several weeks.
The testing and fine-tuning of traffic signals will start immediately after the painting is complete, but this should not create traffic delays.
If the weather cooperates, the project will be totally complete by the end of December. Thank you again for your patience!
Signature Bridge Delay
We have an update on the Signature Bridge in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District.
U.S. Bridge, the company that is manufacturing the Signature Bridge, informed us that setbacks in their fabrication shop will delay the delivery of the bridge. They now expect delivery to occur the last week of November. We’ll send another update as soon as we have a new date. Parking on Canal Street will not be restricted until the bridge is delivered.
All other project elements will proceed on schedule. Thank you for your patience!
We have some big news about both the Hamilton Canal Innovation District project and the Thorndike Street Improvement projects, including the installation of the Signature Bridge, so please read on!
Signature Bridge Installation Scheduled for November 7
Tentatively starting on Wednesday, November 7, the Signature Bridge will be delivered in pieces. The contractor will use a crane to take the pieces off trucks and install them over the canal. After a couple of days, people will be able to see the curving trusses that support the bridge over the water, and we expect the entire installation to take about a week.
During this time, the area near the bridge including some parking spaces on Canal Street may be closed during the day to give additional space for this work. The City will place bags over the placards in the parking spaces to be closed.
The bridge will probably not be completely finished until next spring, because the contractor needs to install utilities, pour the concrete deck, do safety tests, and finish many other tasks before it's ready to walk or drive over.
Track Removal for Sidewalk Bridges
Work on the other bridge near Dutton Street and Broadway is also moving forward. The contractor demolished the bridge sidewalk to get ready for two new sidewalk bridges on each side of the existing bridge. Before the end of October, the contractor will begin removing the rubber pad under the trolley track where it crosses Broadway. In November, the track that crosses Broadway will be entirely removed and the contractor will patch the area with asphalt. The contractor will also temporarily patch the sidewalk at the corner of Broadway and Dutton. We will send an update as soon as we know when the track is scheduled to be removed, as there may be some delays accessing the National Park parking lot during that time.
The sidewalk bridges and associated utilities will be installed over the winter or early spring, depending on weather. Then in spring, the contractor will install new trolley tracks in time for the new Lowell National Historical Park tour season.
Thorndike Street Path to Completion
The contractor started planting shrubs and grass seed this week, and plans to pour the remaining sidewalk next week. The final paving of the street is tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday, October 24, depending on weather. This would take place at night and block a lane of traffic. We will send an update if we must change the paving schedule.
By the end of October, the team hopes to have finished painting the final stripes on the road and can fine-tune the traffic signals based on the actual traffic patterns. If all goes well, the project will be completed in early November.
Thank you for bearing through any traffic difficulties the project created; we hope you'll be happy with the result in November!
The Thorndike Street project has a new traffic update to share.
Thorndike Street: Night Paving
The contractor provided the City with the following schedule for Thorndike Street between Highland Street and Gallagher Terminal driveway, although it may change depending on the weather:
Thursday, September 20, night: The street will be ground down. This will result in night lane closures and manholes protruding around one to two inches for several days.
Sunday, September 23, night: 700 tons of asphalt will be used to pave the road. This will result in night lane closures. The manholes and basins will be slightly depressed for a couple of weeks after this until they can be raised to street level.
To be determined: One more course of paving for the final surface will occur when old traffic equipment has been removed.
Please remind your friends and neighbors to drive carefully.
As school returns to session, we have many updates regarding the Hamilton Canal Innovation District! We humbly ask you to bear with us as projects progress and we do our best to mitigate traffic impacts. Most importantly, we request you to take extra precaution as students return and traffic increases.
New Work Hours on Thorndike Street
With school in session, work hours on Thorndike Street will be limited from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm on weekdays. Between those hours, one lane will still be closed to complete the final work on the traffic equipment, electrical infrastructure, and other final touches. Please continue to anticipate delays on Thorndike between the Gallagher Terminal and YMCA Drive, and seek alternate routes if possible.
The contractor expects final paving to begin in a number of weeks, with an expected completion of the entire project by late fall. We'll keep you updated on traffic impacts and schedule.
Hamilton Canal Innovation District Infrastructure Progresses
The contractor is making great progress on the HCID site, having recently installed a retaining wall and continuing work on footings for both the Signature Bridge and the new sidewalk bridges over the Merrimack Canal. The next major work will be the installation of the bridges themselves, which will progress over the coming weeks, with installation of the structural steel for the signature bridge expected to begin mid-October. We'll share more information as that work draws closer, but in the meantime, catch a special presentation on LTC News, Channel 8, next Thursday, Sep 6, 6:00 pm or various times everyday for two weeks thereafter. It will also be posted on Facebook.
Thanks to Claire Ricker for leading one hundred community members on a tour through the Hamilton Canal Innovation District. We love answering questions! Please don't hesitate to send any questions about the plans for the area to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lord Overpass Project
Finally, we have had many questions about the Lord Overpass project. The project is nearing 100% completed design, with only minor details to be worked out in the coming weeks. Once design is finalized, the City intends to advertise the project for bid and expects the contractor to mobilize in late winter for construction in 2019 and 2020.
The project will fill in the overpass to create a boulevard with four vehicular lanes in each direction, a dedicated busway, and sidewalks on both sides separated from the road by a green buffer (sidewalks are colored yellow in the above illustration). In addition, separated bicycle tracks will be placed between the sidewalk and the roadway, with crossings at Summer, Appleton/Chelmsford, Middlesex, and a new intersection at an extended Jackson Street.
Our traffic engineers believe this will create a more comfortable environment for all modes of transportation and a stronger multimodal link between Gallagher Terminal, the Hamilton Canal Innovation District, and downtown. We are also looking ahead to a future project to add a lane to the entrance ramp to the Lowell Connector and have provided a conduit between all intersections so that lights along Thorndike Street can be synchronized to reduce congestion. There is a detailed phasing plan that will allow traffic to continue moving through the Overpass during its reconstruction.
Next Tuesday, September 11, 6:30 pm, you can view a presentation given to the City Council in City Hall or on LTC Channel 99, and as the project progresses, we will continue to provide updates on this mailing list and other channels. Please let us know the best ways to reach you and people you know.
We wanted to share a special alert to those who use the parking lots near Market Mills and Canal Place condominiums.
Access from Dutton/Broadway Temporarily Closed
Starting on Wednesday, August 22, the only access to the parking lots between Market Mills and Canal Place will be from Market Street. The access from Dutton Street will be temporarily closed so that the construction crew may safely expedite their work. This condition is expected to last about a month. The property managers of neighboring buildings have been notified.
NPS visitors and employees may still access the NPS Parking Lot from Dutton/Broadway.
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.