Pedestrian Safety Is Paramount in $5.29M Route 97 Revamp, Says Fiorentini

The Broadway stretch of Haverhill's Route 97 is getting a safety upgrade with new sidewalks as part of a two-year roadway renovation. (Courtesy photograph)

The Broadway stretch of Haverhill's Route 97 is getting a safety upgrade with new sidewalks as part of a two-year roadway renovation. (Courtesy photograph)

Residents living in the Broadway stretch of Haverhill’s Route 97: Mayor James J. Fiorentini has heard your concerns about traffic and public safety—and he’s ready to do something about it.

Following neighbor complaints about the safety and walkability of the area near the Target store headed toward Methuen, Fiorentini tells WHAV he is making sidewalks a priority of the $5.29 state-funded construction project.

“Sidewalks are huge—that was a major impetus for me,” Fiorentini told WHAV. “Years ago, a man named John Miele came before the City Council and asked why there weren’t any sidewalks in the area. That always struck me.”

Fiorentini visits the construction

Miele isn’t the only neighbor to bend Fiorentini’s ear of late. The Mayor tells WHAV he’s also received resident complaints about traffic and water runoff, both of which will be addressed during the two-year project.

“I’ve been frustrated that I haven’t been able to help them. It’s part of my general program to improve the gateways to the city,” Fiorentini said. “We want our entrance to the city—our ‘front door’—to really look nice.”

Funded with cooperation from the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Gov. Charlie Baker, the improvement project spans roughly one mile from Research Drive to Silver Birch Lane. Along with the installation of sidewalks on both sides of the stretch, safety improvements will be put in place at the intersections of Broadway and Forest Street and Broadway and Lake Street, Fiorentini said.

Sidewalk construction is expected to begin next spring, once 1,500 feet of paving is completed this summer.

North Avenue is next on Fiorentini’s to-do list, with a $13 million makeover scheduled to begin in 2023 and stretch all the way to the Plaistow, N.H. town line.