Winchester Road Construction Update
By Peter Casey Nov 16, 2023
A quick trip to the center of Winchester was anything but this week as various construction projects from the MBTA train station to National Grid’s gas line repairs created multiple surprise closures and lane reductions. Getting from one side of the center to the other was just as difficult as getting from one side of town to the other due to the Cross Street and Lake Street Bridge projects.
Residents were surprised at what seemed like pop up constructions projects. Winchester DPW Director, Robert LeBossiere says National Grid notifies all the abutters to the projects but there is no town-wide notification practice of alerting residents of construction projects.
Church Street was closed in one direction coming into the center at the intersection of Waterfield Road as National Grid crews were digging up the road at the Dix Street intersection. Winchester DPW Director LeBossiere, told Winchester News that Dix Street “has been a bad area for gas leaks for a long time and National Grid is almost complete with replacing the main gas line along Dix Street.” The construction and lane reductions on Church Street this week allowed National Grid crews to make the final connection of the Dix Street gas main to Church Street.
LeBossiere explained that “The gas line project had been scheduled to be completed earlier this fall but with the delays in the bridge project on Lake Street they held off as long as they could.” National Grid had been scheduled earlier to make the gas line connection on Church Street, but the town waited with the hope the Lake Street Bridge project would be completed by now. As the construction season is winding down for the year, and the bridge project had its own delays, the town had the utility go forward with the project rather than wait until next year.
With the closure of Church Street, the Dix Street gas line project created even more traffic on the already construction impacted traffic on Waterfield Road.
If you tried driving through the Main Street rotary in the center of town this week, you were greeted with construction cones and equipment on a couple of sections of the circle. Two unrelated construction projects were occurring at the same time. Emergency crews were working on an active gas leak near the intersection of Main Street and Park Street which resulted in lane reductions on Main Street and the closure of a portion of Park Street. The work is sandwiched between the two former gas stations at the circle and caused some lane shifts and parking prohibitions. DPW’s LeBossiere says the crews will be there until it’s fixed.
Meanwhile, the opposite end of the circle had crews working the MBTA train station project who were performing scheduled work that is intended to reinforce the bridge structure including footings and supports. This work created lane reductions in the circle and caused confusion for some drivers that were observed driving in the wrong direction around the construction cones.
As for the long-anticipated completion of the Lake Street bridge, the good news is that the end is in sight. LeBossiere said the guard rails were installed Wednesday and that he’s waiting for confirmation of paving expected to take place Monday and Tuesday of next week. The bridge is expected to be open by the end of the month.
Across town the Eversource project on Cross Street is expected to be complete for the season also by the end of the month. Crews will return next spring to begin the road rebuilding and paving work.
Peter Casey is a member of the Winchester News Group Executive Board and the former director of WBZ Radio News.
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