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Year-long intersection reconstruction could cause major delays


May 15, 2014

By Chris Maza
chrism@thereminder.com

SPRINGFIELD – One of the major intersections providing access from East Longmeadow to Springfield will be undergoing some changes that could take up to a year to complete.

The large intersection at which Allen Street, Sumner Avenue, Harkness Avenue and Abbott Street meet is scheduled to undergo a major reconstruction this summer in order to improve traffic flow and make the area safer for pedestrians.

The project, which is being undertaken by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), involves realigning the two intersections and roadway improvements to approximately 700 feet of Allen Street, 1,400 feet of Sumner Avenue, 120 feet of Powell Street, 150 feet of Abbott Street, and 120 feet of Harkness Street.

“The project includes replacing the traffic signals at both intersections, milling the roadway and resurfacing it; installation of concrete sidewalks and wheelchair ramps; minor drainage improvements; resetting of the existing granite curbing, and installation of pavement markings and signage,” Michael Verseckes of the MassDOT Public Affairs Office said.

Information on the project from the Springfield Department of Public Works (DPW) called the intersection “poorly aligned and confusing to motorists,”?adding that the level of service for drivers turning from Sumner Avenue onto Harkness Avenue was rated as poor.

“This project will realign the intersection and replace the outdated signal equipment to relieve congestion and improve traffic flow and safety,” according to the Springfield DPW’s release.

Pedestrian accommodations at the intersection are considered “poor” and the addition of sidewalks, ramps and crosswalks will make the intersection compliant with Architectural Access Board and Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Springfield’s JBL Construction Company will perform the work.

While Verseckes was unsure on an exact start date for the project, the announcement on the Springfield DPW said it was supposed to begin in May. The city projected the construction could take eight to 10 months, while Verseckes said the target date for completion was mid-July 2015.

Information regarding possible road closures was not available as of press time.

Earlier in the year, the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission replaced a sewer main under the intersection in preparation of the rehabilitation. That work was completed in late April.

Between the MassDOT’s project and other construction planned for the summer, those who utilize Harkness Avenue or Elm Street as accesses between East Longmeadow and the city may have to seek significant detours.

The East Longmeadow Department of Public Works will also begin a road reconstruction project for Elm Street, which runs from Cooley Street in Springfield to the East Longmeadow rotary, which will begin in mid-July with a target end date of late August.

That multi-phase project will involve the replacement of the road’s base as well as its surface and will result in periods of time when traffic would be down to one lane. There is also the possibility of a complete closure of the road to all but local traffic during the final paving of the road.

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