Fiorentini Begs State, Subcontractor to “Get Going” on Route 97 Haverhill Project

Route 97 is getting a major overhaul in Haverhill. (Courtesy photograph)

Memo to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division from Mayor James J. Fiorentini: Move along on Haverhill’s Route 97. On Wednesday, Fiorentini issued a plea for expediency as it relates to the roadway reconstruction work on the stretch near the city’s Computer Drive.

After a site visit to Haverhill’s Broadway along Route 97, Fiorentini returned to his City Hall office to get on the phone to his state contacts, his staff confirmed in an update on social media this week.

“The Mayor went out to visit Broadway (and he is) very unhappy—like everyone else—with the lack of progress on this state roadway reconstruction project. Let’s get going on this.”

The subcontractor assigned to the $5.29 million state-funded project, Nashua, N.H.-based Newport Construction, is scheduled to visit the site within the next week, Fiorentini reports.

When outlining the project for WHAV last summer, Fiorentini said pedestrian safety is a No. 1 concern. He’s heard resident complaints about the lack of sidewalks and plans to institute them as part of his plan to beautify what he calls the entrances to the city.

“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.

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.

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