WESTFIELD, Mass. (WESTFIELD NEWS) – The Water Commission voted last night to approve their portion of a $5.9 million infrastructure project to improve facilities in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.
The $5.9 million contract has been awarded to Gagliarducci Construction Inc. of Springfield to replace water and sewer lines, as well as to bury overhead utilities and repave streets in the neighborhood designated as the Gas Light District.
The Gas Light District is the area of downtown located between Elm and Washington streets and between Franklin and Court streets.
City Engineer Mark Cressotti presented details of the contract, which is being financed through several funding sources, to the Water Commission.
The board voted 3-0 to authorize $2.33 million for the water main replacement component of the project. The City Council approved a bond last year for that work.
Cressotti will request the Board of Public Works to vote next Tuesday to approve the use of $3.6 million from the city’s Inflow & Infiltration account to fund the replacement of sanitary sewers. “We’ve been working on this project for over a decade,” Cressotti said. “The work is planned to start in June with an 18-month construction schedule.”
Cressotti said that Gagliarducci was selected because it has experience in doing complex projects. “This is a challenging project with lots of different elements,” Cressotti said. “I do anticipate there will be issues with a project of this size and complexity.”
“One big issue is scheduling work. We can’t take out a whole street,” Cressotti said. “The contract will be required to dig a section of street, replace the utilities and put that street back into service by the end of the work day.” “We’re putting a lot of conditions on the contractor to keep the district whole, which just adds to the complexity,” Cressotti said.
Cressotti said the city is working with residents and businesses to keep the construction impact as manageable as possible. “We’re replacing water lines and services to buildings which is typical for this kind of work,” Cressotti said “Permanent and temporary easements are in City Council committees to facilitate that.”
“What is unusual is that we’re replacing the sewer lines. The city doesn’t typically do that, but in this instance we have to take out and replace those lines because there is significant inflow and infiltration of ground water,” Cressotti said. “There is also an issue of asbestos pipes sitting in high ground water.”