Westfield bridge balustrade project moving along

The project is to replace the balustrades at the Women’s Temperance, Half Mile and Kane-Wojtkiewicz parks

One area of the balustrade project currently under construction, with protective fencing surrounding the area (The Westfield News)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) –The city’s replacement of balustrades around two downtown parks is underway and is expected to be finished by mid-summer, according to Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan.

The project is to replace the balustrades at the Women’s Temperance, Half Mile and Kane-Wojtkiewicz parks, located in the Great River Bridge portion of the city. The balustrades that were installed to protect from the edge of the parks were considered unsafe by the third-party engineering firm Habeeb and Associates. The removal of the balustrades is currently underway and is considered phase one of the project.

“You may see some work out there but the demolition is mostly done,” David Billips, director of Westfield Department of Public Works, said. “They are designing a new system that will mimic the others in the area.”

Phase two will be a measurement and molding of the new balustrades, and is expected to have a lull in construction for “a couple of weeks” during that time, according to Sullivan. Phase three will be the final step, which will be installation, and according to Billips, will begin in June.

The new style of balustrades being put in that are currently around the Westfield River (The Westfield News)

The project was originally projected to cost the city about $300,000, with a majority of funding coming from previously existing money from the Bullens Field Restoration Project, which helped bring the Babe Ruth World Series to Westfield, and also helped to improve and modernize several portions of Bullens Field.

The money left over from the Bullens project makes up about $275,000, which will go toward the balustrade repairs and should be able to at least cover its cost until the next fiscal year, if not altogether, Sullivan previously said to The Westfield News in February of this year.

If the city does need to cover additional costs prior to the next fiscal year, then they may have to draw from the city’s free cash account. This account has money that has not been declared yet for city projects, and is often used to fund projects and concerns not addressed in the city’s budget.

The original balustrades were installed in 2012, as part of the Great River Bridge Project funded by the state, and it was suggested during an assessment by Habeeb and Associates last year that they should be replaced to improve safety in the area.

Sullivan also previously said that the city will attempt to recoup the costs to replace the balustrades from the state, but in order to expedite the issue Westfield would initially pay for the replacement.

Copyright 2017 The Westfield News